BoI urges High Court to declare O’Donnells bankrupt in Ireland
Move comes after English high court dismissed O’Donnells’ application there
Brian O’Donnell: Bank of Ireland has called for the solicitor and his wife to be ruled bankrupt in Ireland
Solicitor Brian O’Donnell and his wife Dr Mary Patricia O’Donnell, who are being pursued by Bank of Ireland for €71 million, should be adjudicated bankrupt in Ireland, the bank has urged the High Court.
The O’Donnells, who have an address in London, were not in court yesterday but their lawyers are opposing the bank’s application on grounds including that Ireland is not their main centre of business interests.
BoI obtained judgment for €71.5 million against the couple in December 2011 over unpaid loans and has since been seeking to enforce that judgment. It also opposed their efforts to secure bankruptcy in England.
Opening the bank’s bankruptcy application yesterday, Mark Sanfey SC said bankruptcy petitions were formerly presented by BoI in respect of Brian O’Donnell on June 1st, 2012, and in relation to his wife on June 7th, 2012.
Those proceedings were adjourned from time to time to allow the UK proceedings run their course, he said.
The English high court had since dismissed the O’Donnells’ application and that decision was upheld in subsequent appeals.
The English courts had “definitively” ruled the O’Donnells’ centre of main interest is Ireland, not the UK, he said.
The O’Donnells have contended that the High Court, when determining their centre of main interests, should determine that centre as of the date the bank’s bankruptcy proceedings opened – yesterday.
They have also argued they were not properly served with the bankruptcy petitions and that the petitions are technically flawed and should be dismissed
Mr Sanfey said the bank contended that the dates in June 2012 of formal presentation of its petitions are the relevant dates when it comes to adjudicating the couple’s main centre of interest.
The bank also denied the petitions were not properly served or were technically flawed. If there were any such flaws, those were not fatal to the bank’s application, it contends.
The hearing before Mr Justice Peter Charleton is expected to last several days.