Dunne bankruptcy official seeks Swiss and Irish legal actions
Official asks US court for permission to examine documents related to developer
Seán Dunne: has declined to answer questions about Swiss judgment at US bankruptcy meetings with his creditors, saying he is bound by “in-camera” confidentiality rules in Ireland. Photograph: Simon Carswell
The court-appointed official overseeing the US bankruptcy of Seán Dunne has asked an American court for permission to examine, in private, documents from Irish and Swiss family law proceedings in which the developer is involved.
Bankruptcy trustee Richard Coan has also asked to question the Co Carlow developer (59), now living in the US, on the records at a private hearing if required. He made the application to a Connecticut court as part of his investigation into Mr Dunne’s finances including a $44 million (€32 million) debt due to his second wife, Gayle Killilea Dunne (39), arising from a Swiss family legal action she took against her husband in 2010 when they lived in Switzerland. That debt arose from a €100 million gift Mr Dunne said he had agreed to give his wife in 2005 in return for “love and affection”.
Mr Dunne voluntarily filed for bankruptcy in the US in March 2013 with debts of $942 million. He was adjudicated a bankrupt in Ireland four months later on a petition by a creditor, Ulster Bank.
He has declined to answer questions about the Swiss judgment at US bankruptcy meetings with his creditors, saying he is bound by “in-camera” confidentiality rules in Ireland.
Mr Coan told the court that the family law records were available to him “subject to certain conditions” from the National Asset Management Agency, another of Mr Dunne’s creditors, and the official assignee, Mr Dunne’s Irish bankruptcy official. The trustee asked the authority to disclose the family law records to the US court “under seal”.
In a separate filing, Mr Dunne accused Nama and Ulster Bank of trying to shroud the “in camera” protection around the Irish family law proceedings “in mystery” and use them “to launch spurious attacks against him and to attempt to put him in an untenable position”.
The developer said that from the outset of his bankruptcy case he had offered the Irish family law records to Mr Coan his trustee on an in-camera basis so as not to run foul of Irish law.
Last month Mr Coan asked the court for a third time to compel Mr Dunne to provide financial information, claiming that he was trying to evade his disclosure obligations by asserting “in camera protection”.
Ahead of a hearing on July 9th to settle the dispute over disclosure, Mr Dunne quoted a motion to the US court from Nama in which he said it accepted that only an Irish court can “unseal” an in-camera case.
In a separate filing, Ms Killilea told the court it could not decide on a motion to force Mr Dunne to disclose more information without fully knowing what happened in the Irish family law proceedings and how they were connected to the Swiss proceedings.