US court official acts to compel Seán Dunne to face creditors

Raft of documents filed ahead of court hearing today

Nama and Ulster Bank are Mr Seán Dunne’s largest creditors and are each owed more than €250 million.

Nama and Ulster Bank are Mr Seán Dunne’s largest creditors and are each owed more than €250 million.

 



The US court official managing the bankruptcy of Seán Dunne has sought to compel the property developer to face his creditors at a meeting in Connecticut later this month.

In a sign of rising tensions in Mr Dunne’s bankruptcy proceedings, a raft of documents were filed ahead of a court hearing today where a judge will hear arguments on whether to allow Ulster Bank to have him declared bankrupt in Ireland as well.

Yesterday, the National Asset Management Agency moved to support the bank’s action, following a similar move by the trustee against Mr Dunne last week. Nama and Ulster Bank are Mr Dunne’s largest creditors and are each owed more than €250 million.

In the first of a series of filings made yesterday, the court-appointed trustee Rich Coan said the developer had failed to produce the documents required by law. Mr Coan said in court filings that Mr Dunne has failed to provide details of any payments he received in the 60 days before he filed for bankruptcy, including income received by his wife, Gayle Killilea.

The trustee asked the Connecticut bankruptcy court to order the developer to meet his creditors on June 19th. He also asked the court to order him to file the relevant financial documents. Mr Dunne chose not to attend a scheduled meeting of his creditors on May 29th until the court ruled on an application by Ulster Bank to make Mr Dunne bankrupt in Ireland.

The trustee asked the court to order Mr Dunne to attend the creditors meeting so that creditors travelling from Ireland have “some assurance” that he will attend and be examined, his filing states. Creditors had travelled from Ireland to examine the debtor at the postponed meeting on May 29th.

In another court filing yesterday, Mr Dunne challenged Ulster Bank’s application. He responded to Ulster Bank’s claims that his US bankruptcy was a blatant attempt to frustrate its Irish bankruptcy action, saying that he sought the US bankruptcy as “a shield” from Ulster Bank’s action and “not as a sword” as the bank claimed.

He argued that the bank’s attempted Irish bankruptcy proceedings “reflects nothing more than forum shopping orchestrated between Ulster Bank and Nama.”

He described Nama’s lawsuit against him and his wife over the fraudulent transfer of assets against as “ill-conceived,” saying the agency “hoped to avoid the day of reckoning in Connecticut” when Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh was to be questioned under oath which was “fast approaching.” The developer said there would be a “manifest error” if he was deprived of a fresh start by being declared bankrupt in Ireland where it could take 12 years for him to be discharged.