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‘An appalling litany of behaviour’: Judge says Marc Godart firm’s treatment of tenant ‘completely unacceptable’

Landlord’s company may have been involved in the fraudulent transfer of money out of Ireland, judge says

A company run by controversial Luxembourg landlord Marc Godart and his family may have been involved in a fraudulent transfer of money out of Ireland, a judge in the High Court said on Monday.

The judge described the company’s treatment of one of its tenants as “an appalling litany of behaviour and one that is completely unacceptable” and said Mr Godart appeared to think he can “throw out” his tenants if they complain about overcrowding.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan made the comments during the opening of an application on behalf of Lizet Pena-Herrera, a psychologist from Bolivia who was granted awards totalling €15,433 from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) in late 2022 against Godart company Green Label Short Lets Ltd.

The compensation was for her illegal eviction earlier that year from a room in a four-bedroom house in Vintage Court, Cork Street, Dublin 8, which she was renting for €470 per month.


Ms Pena-Herrera was evicted and her possessions taken from her room when she was not in the house, in the wake of making a complaint about overcrowding. After the awards were not paid, she secured a judgment order from the District Court, along with an order for costs, which remain unpaid.

Barrister Liam Bell, instructed by Eoghan McMahon, of McGrath Mullen solicitors, Dublin, are seeking to interview Mr Godart (35), his father René Godart (71) and his mother Denise Godart, née Wester (64), all with addresses in Luxembourg, on oath in court about the financial affairs of Green Label Short Lets.

Mr Godart has said on affidavit the company is not in a position to pay the debt due to Ms Pena-Herrera and that, in the circumstances, he should not be ordered to answer questions in court.

He said the company’s inability to pay was due to the Covid pandemic, which “greatly reduced” demand for accommodation from international travellers, as well as regulations introduced by Dublin City Council on short-term letting.

Mr Justice Cregan, in considering Mr Godart’s affidavit, raised questions about the Luxembourg businessman’s statement that his mother, who was a director of Green Label Short Lets up to September 28th, 2023, was “a director in name only and had no active role” in the company.

“That is an extraordinary term,” the judge said. “There is no such thing as a director in name only.”

René Godart, the court was told, appears to be a director of a company in Luxembourg that is in a partnership arrangement with Green Label Short Lets.

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If money had been remitted by the Irish company to its parent company in Luxembourg in the wake of the RTB awards, the judge said, then that could amount to a fraudulent transfer and “certainly Mr Godart has to answer questions about that”.

Mr Bell said Mr Godart’s claim that Green Label had no earnings in 2023 was not sustainable. Days after Mr Godart swore his affidavit it was reported in the media that Green Label Short Lets had pleaded guilty in the District Court to criminal charges of breaching the planning laws in relation to short-term letting on June 4th-6th, 2023. A report in The Irish Times on February 21st last made it clear that Mr Godart’s companies were still actively involved in renting out accommodation.

Barrister Darragh Haugh, instructed by Vincent Shields, of Shields Solicitors, Cahir, Co Tipperary, said his client was taking the allegation that he may have misled the court “very seriously” and that the claim was based on hearsay. The case was adjourned to later this month.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent