Dunne gave wife €58m to buy Ireland’s most expensive house

Bankrupt developer says it was normal to take up to €10m from his firms for personal use

Seán Dunne with his attorney, James Berman, before a meeting with creditors in New Haven Federal Court yesterday.

Seán Dunne with his attorney, James Berman, before a meeting with creditors in New Haven Federal Court yesterday.

Sat, Mar 1, 2014, 09:41

Bankrupt property developer Seán Dunne gifted his wife Gayle Killilea €58 million in cash to buy Ireland’s most expensive house, he told a US bankruptcy hearing yesterday.

Mr Dunne confirmed publicly for the first time that Ms Killilea bought Walford on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin in 2005.

He also revealed that he gave a €14 million profit he made on the sale of two other houses on the same road, numbers 1 and 3 Shrewsbury Road, to his wife the following year.

Under questioning at a creditors’ meeting in Connecticut, the Co Carlow developer said Walford was bought with €58 million in cash he gifted his wife in “one lump” in 2005 as part of a deal to transfer €100 million, a fifth of his fortune, to her to make her financially independent after the birth of their first child.

There was no bank loan drawn to buy the house, he said, and the money came from “one of my pocket, one of my accounts or one of my companies, or a combination of all three,” said Mr Dunne.

In his fourth meeting with creditors since filing for bankruptcy last year, Mr Dunne was questioned about transactions involving his €500 million business at the height of the Irish property boom.

Mr Dunne said it was normal for him to take sums ranging from €100,000 to €10 million depending on what he needed from his companies for expenditure for himself, his wife and his children.