Purported conveyance of couple’s Ballsbridge property to West Indies firm was fraudulent, High Court rules

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore describes facts of case around St Mary’s Road building as ‘truly extraordinary’

The High Court has ruled that the purported conveyance of a Ballsbridge property from a married couple to a West Indies-based company “never happened” and was a fraud.

In a judgment published on Monday, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore said the evidence before him was that Liam and Keira Curran never sold the Dublin 4 property to Kent International Holdings LLC or anyone else.

The facts giving rise to the case, he said, were “truly extraordinary”.

The Currans purchased the St Mary’s Road building in 2006. It was mortgaged in favour of Permanent TSB plc which, on foot of arrangements with the Currans, became its effective legal owner of title, as of March 2015, said the judge.


It came as a “matter of some surprise” to the couple, who live in Ranelagh, and to Permanent TSB when, in 2018, the Property Registration Authority registered US firm Hamilton Holdings LLC as the first registered owner of the house.

The judge said the registration came on foot of an application from Hamilton, which purportedly acquired the property by deed of conveyance in January 2018 from Kent, which has an address in Nevis, in the West Indies.

Kent, in turn, had purportedly acquired the property from the Currans by way of a deed of conveyance in July 2014, Mr Justice O’Moore said.

Mr Curran provided “plain and uncontradicted evidence” that neither he nor his wife executed any conveyance of title to the property in favour of Kent nor did they part with title to the property since acquiring it other than the arrangements entered into with Permanent TSB, the judge said.

Mr Justice O’Moore said he had no option but to find that the asserted conveyance of the property to Kent was a “fraudulent transaction”. The transfer of Kent’s interest in the property to Hamilton was, “to put it at its lowest, based on the false premise that there was a valid and effective conveyance from the Currans to Kent”, he went on.

Hamilton, which also has an Irish address, took no part in the High Court proceedings initiated against it by the Currans and Permanent TSB over the St Mary’s Road premises, the judge said.

Therefore, he said, it has not been possible to probe anybody linked to Hamilton about their state of knowledge or mindset in acting as they did.

At the very least the application to register Hamilton as the owner of the Ballsbridge property was based on a “fundamental error” that Hamilton had acquired an interest in it as a result of the conveyance of Kent’s ownership to it, said Mr Justice O’Moore, adding: “Kent never owned the property.”

Lawyers for Permanent TSB submitted to the judge that proper searches by Hamilton’s solicitors would have revealed the mortgages over the property to Permanent TSB, he added.

Either these “basic searches” were not carried out, in which case Hamilton’s solicitor was “fundamentally mistaken” in certifying to the Property Registration Authority that the house was “free from any adverse rights, restrictive covenants or encumbrances” or, the judge said, the mortgages were known to the solicitor and the authority was “fundamentally misled”.

Mr Justice O’Moore was satisfied the plaintiffs were entitled to judgment in default against Hamilton. He declared that the purported conveyance of the title to Kent in 2018 is a “fraud and/or a nullity and is void and of no legal effect”.

Further, he held that Hamilton had “no right, title, interest or estate in or to” the premises.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is High Court Reporter with The Irish Times