Seán Dunne declared bankrupt over failure to discharge €163m judgment

Court-appointed official assignee will liaise with US authorities over what is to happen to Dunne assets

Developer Seán Dunne: he was clearly aware of the proceedings and had done everything to thwart them, counsel for Ulster Bank said. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Developer Seán Dunne: he was clearly aware of the proceedings and had done everything to thwart them, counsel for Ulster Bank said. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Developer Seán Dunne has been declared bankrupt by the High Court over his failure to discharge a judgment of some €163 million obtained against him over unpaid loans.

Ulster Bank, supported by the National Asset Management Agency, had applied to the High Court for the developer to be adjudicated bankrupt.

There was no appearance by or on behalf of the developer. His name was called out twice before the matter proceeded.

Lyndon MacCann SC, for the bank, said the matter was of “critical urgency” and referred to the bank’s concerns about “voluntary dispositions” to Seán Dunne’s wife Gayle Killilea which could only be examined within a certain time frame.

Mr Dunne was clearly aware of the proceedings and had done everything to thwart them, said counsel. Mr Dunne had had ample opportunity to organise lawyers and the matter should proceed. Nama felt the same way, added counsel.

Making the order adjudicating Mr Dunne bankrupt, Ms Justice Dunne said the history of the case was complicated with Mr Dunne bringing proceedings in the US.

Material before the court showed Mr Dunne was aware of the case and proceedings in the US had been brought because of the Irish case.


Order set aside
It was open to Mr Dunne to apply to the court to have the order set aside, the judge added. Mr Dunne, she noted, had claimed to be domiciled outside the jurisdiction and there may be arguments in that regard.

A court-appointed official assignee will now liaise with the US authorities over what is to happen to Mr Dunne’s assets.

Earlier, Mr MacCann said a US state marshal in Connecticut has served the Irish bankruptcy petition papers on the Dunne household and on the offices of Mr Dunne’s US attorney.

The US marshall had met Mrs Dunne – Gayle Killilea – at a residential address in Connecticut, but she refused to accept the papers.

The US marshall described the woman as “a blonde lady with an Irish accent” who said she was Mrs Dunne and drove away in an SUV.

Notice of the petition was pinned to the door of the Dunne home. There had been some correspondence from Mr Dunne’s US lawyers over the weekend suggesting he had not been given sufficient notice of the hearing, Mr MacCann added.