It is claimed that €30m, plus some €4.5m in fees, was raised from about 110 Irish and UK investors in 2006 and 2007 for the purchase of a block of 26 apartments in Shanghai, functioning as an aparthotel.
The investors later learnt about €22m was paid to the seller of the shares of the company which owned the apartment block and "a material secret profit" of some €8m was made by Vantium Ltd, it was claimed in the Commercial Court.
They are seeking damages totalling some €18m in their proceedings against Vantium Ltd, with offices at Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin; Mark Carroll, Picton Place, London, and his wife, Patricia Kerrigan.
Kelly Smith, BL, for the defendants, yesterday opposed the proceedings being fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.
The parent company of the current tenant of the Shanghai property had reiterated an offer to buy the property for a sum equating to about €44m, which was beyond a price mandated by the investors in 2010, counsel said. If the property was sold, that would yield a 20pc return for the investors, she added.
Eoin McCullough SC, for the investors, said previous attempts to mediate had proven unsuccessful as his clients had taken the view Mr Carroll was not being honest with them.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed to Mr McCullough's application to admit two sets of proceedings by the investors to the Commercial Court list but stressed that the decision did not prevent any further mediation.
He put the matter back to March 2013.