An application to have businessman and former Ireland rugby international Brendan Mullin adjudicated bankrupt over an alleged €1.8m debt has been again adjourned at the High Court.
Mount Street Mortgage Servicing Limited (MSMS), has brought petitions seeking to have Mr Mullin (60), with an address at Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, Dublin, and his former business partner Stephane Fund (56), with an address in Kilternan, Co Dublin, adjudicated bankrupt.
Both men were co-directors of Bisvale DAC, a property development fund which went into receivership in 2021.
MSMS obtained judgment from the High Court for some €2m against both men in April 2022, arising from guarantees concerning loans made to buy properties in Ballsbridge from the National Asset Management Agency.
In its bankruptcy proceedings, MSMS claims some €1.85m remains due and owing.
In its proceedings against Mr Mullin, MSMS claims he committed an act of bankruptcy arising from a return in July 2023 by the Dublin City Sheriff of an execution order issued in April 2023 against his goods. MSMS claims that execution order was marked: “No goods – Nulla Bona” and no payment against the debt has been received since.
In court papers opposing the bankruptcy petition, Mr Mullin disputes the alleged debt and also denies he has committed an act of bankruptcy. He contends the execution order of April 2023 was withdrawn the following July and the warrant was returned to solicitors for MSMS.
In those circumstances, he claims no act of bankruptcy, within the meaning of the relevant provisions of the Bankruptcy Act, happened.
After receiving a final notice from the Sheriff’s office in June 2023, his solicitor engaged with the Sheriff’s office and the Sheriff indicated he would be given more time to address certain issues, Mr Mullin has said in court papers. It is further claimed the Sheriff was informed Mr Mullin’s side would need certain information from MSMS before he could advance any serious proposal to the Sheriff to deal with the alleged debt.
Mr Mullin claims the latter took no further steps concerning the execution order. This meant, he claims, that “No goods- Nulla bona” could not have been accurately marked on the execution order which, he contends, was withdrawn on July 18th 2023.
A solicitor for MSMS said in an affidavit he believed Mr Mullin’s claim the execution order was withdrawn is incorrect. The solicitor said, after he had queried an “erroneous” document returned from the Sheriff’s office, he was asked by the office to return that document and did so. He later received documents and the Sheriff’s report, dated July 21st, 2023, marked as “nulla bona” and the petition relied on that.
Mr Justice Liam Kennedy last month adjourned the proceedings to allow the exchange of legal papers and the bringing of any motion for a modular trial, involving a pre-trial hearing concerning whether an act of bankruptcy had occurred.
When the proceedings returned before the judge for mention on Monday, he was told the sides had agreed to a further adjournment.
Una Nesdale BL, for MSMS, said her side was to have received an affidavit from Mr Mullin’s side on February 5th but had not received it until February 9th. It appeared Mr Mullin’s side were not seeking a modular trial and the sides have agreed to exchange further affidavits, she outlined.
Dan O’Mahony BL, for Mr Mullin, said the issue of a modular trial had gone to a greater or lesser extent. His side considered it was best to deal with the bankruptcy petition as it falls and to address the issue about an act of bankruptcy at the hearing.
The judge granted an adjournment to March 11th.