Dunne seeks to halt Nama action against him

Under US law, stay put on litigation against individuals once they file for bankruptcy

Lawyers for property developer Seán Dunne have filed records in the Connecticut courts halting the National Asset Management Agency's legal action against him and his wife, Gayle Killilea, after he filed for bankruptcy in a separate court in the US.

Under US bankruptcy law, a stay is put on any litigation against individuals once they file for bankruptcy, automatically halting any legal actions against them.

It is then up to the trustee appointed by the bankruptcy court over the person’s estate to determine whether to pursue the legal proceedings.

Mr Dunne's lawyers yesterday filed a record requesting a "motion for stay by reason of bankruptcy" in the Superior Court of Connecticut, a state court, after the Co Carlow developer filed for bankruptcy late on Good Friday in the District of Connecticut US Bankruptcy Court, a federal court.


The motion will mean that a hearing scheduled for Thursday in the Connecticut state court will not proceed. Even though Ms Killilea has not filed for bankruptcy, Nama's case against the couple hinges on his financial affairs, which will fall under the responsibility of Mr Dunne's bankruptcy trustee.

The developer could emerge debt-free from bankruptcy within six months if his discharge from bankruptcy is not contested by any of his creditors, which includes Nama.

The State loans agency can, however, ask the trustee to pursue the same legal action that it had taken against Mr Dunne.

On Thursday a judge was due to hear Ms Killilea’s objections to an order of the court compelling her to hand over details of any properties or money transferred to her from her husband since 2008.

Nama, which is owed €185 million by Mr Dunne, sued the couple in Connecticut’s superior court last year.

It claimed that he had fraudulently transferred a half-share in an apartment in Geneva more than three years ago and that she has used his money to develop properties in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times