Ex-tycoon Dunne may file for US bankruptcy in US
Former property magnate Sean Dunne will consider filing for bankruptcy in the US, where he now lives, after Ulster Bank’s successful initiation of proceedings against him in the High Court in Dublin.
It is understood that Mr Dunne is contemplating a voluntary application in the courts in Connecticut to circumvent the UK-owned bank. If he proceeds, the Co Carlow businessman would follow a similar route taken by former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm, who filed for bankruptcy in Massachusetts in 2010, avoiding proceedings taken by Anglo in this State, where the regime is more onerous than in the US.
Mr Dunne owes €164 million to Ulster Bank arising from the financial support provided by the lender for the purchase of the Jurys Hotel site in Ballsbridge, which was rejected by An Bord Pleanála.
Ulster Bank applied for leave to serve bankruptcy proceedings on the developer during his appearance in the Connecticut courts where he is the subject of an action taken by Nama over personal guarantees on bank debts of €185 million.
Bernard Dunleavy BL, for Ulster Bank, said that while Mr Dunne was living at Indian Field Road, Greenwich, Connecticut, he was a citizen of this State, carried on business here, acted as a landlord here and his family continued to live here. Insofar as he was resident in the US, he was there on a temporary business visa, he added.
The move could create complications for Nama’s case against Dunne and his wife, Gayle Killilea, if he is declared bankrupt here or Connecticut.
Nama tried unsuccessfully to freeze the couple’s assets and are claiming that Dunne fraudulently transferred a half-share in an apartment in Geneva to his wife, which she then sold, and that she is using the proceeds to redevelop properties in Greenwich, one of the wealthiest areas on the US east coast.
Kevin Nowlan, a former Nama employee who managed the agency’s relations with Mr Dunne, is due to have a sworn statement taken in a legal deposition set for Friday.
The court granted Ulster Bank leave to serve legal papers on Mr Dunne.