New claim of €1.8m made against O'Brien


THE BROTHER-IN-LAW of alleged pyramid scheme operator Breifne O’Brien has joined the list of people who have brought legal claims against the businessman for repayment of at least €14 million given to him to invest.

Lawyers for Belgian financier Bernard Lambilliotte, managing director of London investment firm Ecofin, will apply on Monday to Mr Justice Peter Kelly to have proceedings seeking some €1.8 million from Mr O’Brien admitted to the Commercial Court.

The action by Mr Lambilliotte increases to 10 the number of people who have brought legal actions against Mr O’Brien, of Invergarry, Silchester Road, Glenageary, over money given to him.

In a statement of affairs given earlier to the court, Mr O’Brien had listed unidentified family members as possible claimants.

In an e-mail of November 17th, 2008 included among documents before Mr Justice Kelly yesterday, Breifne O’Brien told an investment adviser “Bernard” was “happy to go in with me” on a 50/50 basis in relation to a Place Vendome, Paris, property investment deal but was also “content to transfer out or stay in to my call”.

In another e-mail, the investment adviser told a client Breifne O’Brien had to put up €14 million for the Paris deal and had €11 million of this “due to his brother-in-law Bernard Lambilliotte”.

To date, Mr Justice Kelly has made orders requiring Mr O’Brien to repay more than €14 million and has continued an order freezing his assets below €16 million. He has referred papers in the cases to the Garda National Bureau of Fraud Investigation and yesterday referred papers in another case to the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

The judge made that referral when making an order requiring Breifne O’Brien to repay to Barty O’Brien Ltd some €685,000 given by the company to help Breifne O’Brien purportedly acquire an option over properties at Place Vendome. In an affidavit, Martin O’Brien, a director of the company, said he was subsequently told in December last that Breifne O’Brien had said the whole investment “was a scam”.

On Tuesday, the judge adjourned the case for clarification of issues after saying documents in the case appeared to indicate the loan agreements were executed by Martin O’Brien personally, of McElwaine, Brownstown, The Curragh, Co Kildare.

Gabriel Gavigan, for Breifne O’Brien, said his client was neither consenting nor objecting to the applications for judgment and was making no admissions relating to the matters set out on affidavit.

After a second affidavit from Martin O’Brien was submitted yesterday, the judge said he was satisfied the loan was between Barty O’Brien Ltd and Breifne O’Brien and he made an order requiring repayment within 14 days.

The judge noted the exhibits included an October 28th, 2008 e-mail related to the Paris deal from Breifne O’Brien to Peter O’Reilly, the investment adviser to Barty O’Brien Ltd and Martin O’Brien. Mr O’Reilly is managing director of The Finance Business based in Naas, Co Kildare.

In the e-mail, Breifne O’Brien, addressing Peter O’Reilly as “Cuckoo”, said “funds and profit should be returned on November 7th”. That did not happen, the judge said.

He also noted a cheque for €27,376 sent in December last from Breifne O’Brien to Barty O’Brien Ltd, purporting to represent profit on the French transaction but later returned unpaid, was drawn on the account of Avonmere Ltd, of Ranelagh Road, Dublin. As that company – whose directors were listed as Breifne O’Brien and his wife Fiona Nagle – had been dissolved in August 2008, the judge said he was referring the papers to the Director of Corporate Enforcement.