Sean Dunne opposes High Court move to extend bankruptcy
Extension being sought due to ‘lack of co-operation’
Sean Dunne opposes extending his bankruptcy.
An application to extend businessman Sean Dunne’s Irish bankruptcy over alleged non co-operation with his bankruptcy trustee has opened before the High Court.
Lawyers for official assignee Chris Lehane said the extension was being sought on several grounds, including Mr Dunne’s failure to provide information on assets allegedly under his control at the time he was adjudicated a bankrupt.
Mr Dunne, represented by Barra McGrory QC, opposes the extension application and denies the allegations he has failed to co-operate.
Opening the application, Mark Sanfey SC, for Mr Lehane, said Mr Dunne did not co-operate with his client between 2013 to early 2016.
The lack of co-operation included failure by Mr Dunne to provide the official assignee with his address and information and explanations concerning assets that Mr Dunne “either owned or ostensibly controlled at the time of his adjudication”, counsel said.
It has been claimed some of these assets are not owned by Mr Dunne but by members of his family or held in trusts and are not part of the bankrupt’s estate.
It is also claimed Mr Dunne did not attend for interview with the official assignee, which he was required to do, until early 2016.
Mr Dunne’s Irish bankruptcy was due to expire in July 2016 but continues pending the outcome of the full hearing concerning whether any extension, which can be for a maximum five years, should be granted.
Ulster Bank petitioned the High Court in February 2013 to have Mr Dunne adjudicated bankrupt here over default on some €164 million loans. The following month, Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut, US, when he claimed to have debts of $1 billion and assets of $55 million.
In May 2016, Mr Lehane initiated the bankruptcy extension application due to Mr Dunne’s alleged non-co-operation,
Several parties involved in the case are to be cross-examined on sworn statements provided to the court.
The first witness was US lawyer Timothy Miltenberger, who represents the “Chapter 7” trustee dealing with Mr Dunne’s US bankruptcy.
Under cross-examination from Mr McGrory, Mr Miltenberger said Mr Dunne had not fully co-operated with his client.
When counsel put to him attempts were made to keep Mr Dunne in bankruptcy, Mr Miltenberger said he had written to the official assignee’s lawyers in November 2016 expressing his client’s fears Mr Dunne might not co-operate with the US trustee if the businessman was discharged from his Irish bankruptcy.
He said the lack of co-operation was in relation to US court proceedings against other parties arising out of the bankruptcy, although it was accepted Mr Dunne himself is not a party to those proceedings.
Mr Lehane and Mr Dunne are due to be cross examined during the hearing before Ms Justice Caroline Costello which is expected to last for several days.