independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

NAMA sues Sean Dunne in the US over proceeds from house sales

Sean Dunne with his wife Gayle Killilea

NAMA HAS launched a legal action in the US against Sean Dunne, the property developer dubbed the "Baron of Ballsbridge" for his spectacular punts on Dublin hotels.

The case is understood to be part of state-controlled NAMA's efforts to recover some of the €185m Mr Dunne was ordered to repay by courts here back in March.

A spokesman for NAMA last night declined to comment because the case is now before the courts in America. Weekend reports said a hearing is due to go ahead in October. Mr Dunne, who is based in the US, could not be reached for comment.

The latest action comes after a luxury US house linked to Mr Dunne's wife Gayle Killilea was sold for $5.5m (€4.4m) in recent weeks.

The property is located in one of the wealthiest and most exclusive neighbourhoods in the entire US -- Belle Haven in Greenwich, Connecticut, which is home to hedge-fund billionaires and Wall Street titans. Singer Diana Ross also stays there.

Sean Dunne, who moved to the US two years ago after his Irish businesses collapsed, always denied owning the controversial property.

It has been listed in US documents as the home of his wife, and neighbours in the wealthy suburb say both Dunnes were involved in a $1m (€813,697) renovation.

The property "trustee" named in the sale documents for the house at 38 Bush Avenue is Thomas J Heagney, Ms Killilea's US lawyer.

Whoever owns the house made a $2.5m (€2.03m) profit when it was sold last July.

Guarantees

The property was bought for $2m in 2010, with a further $1m spent in extensive reconstruction work that provoked some outrage in the plush neighbourhood.

The Dunne's financial affairs have come in for intense scrutiny since the High Court ordered Sean Dunne to repay €185m to NAMA to cover guarantees he provided for the debts run up by some of his companies during the boom.

That debt has yet to be collected, and NAMA is known to have scoured the globe in an effort to find properties and assets that may be owned by Mr Dunne.

In the meantime the courts have also ordered Mr Dunne to repay a further €164m to Ulster Bank, intensifying the hunt for any potential remaining wealth.

The house that has just been sold is just one of a number of properties in Greenwich that have been linked to the Dunnes since they left Ireland in 2010.

The Irish Independent previously revealed that Sean Dunne had been involved with the redevelopment of a second mansion in the town at 42 Bote Road in Stanwich, also owned through a legal trust operated by Mr Heagney.

Irish Independent

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