Well-known French film star Dany Boon has secured formal High Court judgments against several entities he claims have defrauded him out of millions of euros.
On Friday Mr Justice Brian O’Moore said he was satisfied to grant Mr Boon judgment in proceedings where Mr Boon seeks damages against Thierry Fialek-Birles aka Terry Birles, otherwise known as Thierry Waterford-Mandeville, and companies linked to him for defrauding the well-known French celebrity of over €6 million.
The applications for judgment were not contested. He previously secured temporary freezing and disclosures orders in attempts to ascertain where his monies have gone.
Rossa Fanning SC, for Mr Boon, said Mr Birles, and several of the corporate entities linked to him, were at one stage in the ongoing proceedings represented by lawyers.
Ultimately most of the parties, including Mr Birles, informed the court they did not wish to contest Mr Boon’s claims against them or they never participated in the proceedings before the court.
In the circumstances Mr Boon was seeking judgment against those entities.
Counsel asked the court to fix a hearing date later this month when the level of damages Mr Boon should receive can be quantified and to appoint a receiver over assets linked to those defendants.
Counsel said two other defendants allegedly linked to Mr Birles, Asia Monaco Investments Ltd with an address in Lusk Co Dublin, and Asia Monaco Sarl, registered in the principality of Monaco, are contesting Mr Boon’s claims against them.
Mr Justice O’Moore was satisfied all the parties he was granting judgment against were aware of or had been served with the proceedings.
Judgment was granted in favour of Mr Boon against South Sea Merchant’s Mariners Ltd Partnership (SSMM), Hibernian Petroleum Limited Partnership, United Irish Estates Limited and Hibernian Yachts Company Limited, which are all Irish-registered entities, and the Samoa-registered United Far East Oriental Holdings (Samoa) Ltd.
Judgment was also made against the US-registered, American Sail & Motor Navigation Inc, Amalgamated Plantations Company Ltd, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, and Sail & Motor Navigation Company Limited in Antigua and Barbuda, who had never participated in the hearings.
The judge said the court will hear in the new year an application by lawyers for Asia Monaco Investments Ltd, and Asia Monaco Sarl, to lift various orders against those entities.
Represented by David Kennedy SC, the court heard, the two firms will contest the full proceedings and now intend to contest Mr Boon’s application to have temporary freezing orders on their assets remain in place.
Mr Kennedy said the two had recently changed legal teams but, following consultations with their clients in France, instructions have been given.
Mr Kennedy did not dispute Mr Fanning’s contention that the two companies’ position on the continuation of the injunction was a “u-turn” and that the former legal team previously told the court the firms would not oppose the continuation of the freezing orders until the full hearing of the dispute has occurred.
Mr Fanning said his client will be seeking “an explanation” for this change in course.
Mr Boon has obtained freezing and disclosure orders against Asia Monaco Investments and Asia Monaco Sarl.
Mr Fanning added that his client’s solicitors are currently looking into documents, including financial information furnished by Mr Kennedy’s clients.
Mr Justice O’Moore adjourned the action against Mr Kennedy’s clients, with the temporary orders previously granted in place.
Last July, Belgium-based Mr Boon secured a High Court freezing order preventing and several corporate entitles he allegedly either controls or it the ultimate beneficial owner of from reducing their assets below a value of €6 million, as well as various disclosure orders.
He claims he is the victim of “a systemic and elaborate fraud with an international dimension” committed by Mr Birles.
Mr Boon says that last year he advanced monies to entities linked to Mr Birles, who is alleged to have represented himself as an “Irish lord from an ancient family” and an expert lawyer in maritime law.
Mr Boon claims that, based on Mr Birles‘s advice, he invested €4.5 million of his money through SSMM in a scheme with the Irish Central Bank.
He alleges Mr Birles told him paid 3.25 per cent annual interest that was tax free.
Mr Boon subsequently discovered no such scheme exists and, despite making several requests, the funds have not been returned to him.
Mr Boon also claims he advanced a further €2.2 million, through SSMM, to cover the costs of running a yacht but does not yet know how much of that sum has been misappropriated.
It is claimed Mr Birles, a French citizen aged in his thirties, committed the fraud by using a network of companies he had appeared to have established in Ireland and other jurisdictions and is somebody who goes by various aliases
Mr Birles denied the allegations before he and other defendants discharged their lawyers and opted not to participate in the proceedings.