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Friday 25 July 2014

Fallen tycoon O'Donnell leaving his €15m mansion

Nick Webb & Ronald Quinlan

Published 10/02/2013|04:00

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Brian O'Donnell

PROPERTY investor Brian O'Donnell is understood to be leaving his plush Westminster home – the Grade II listed period residence with not one, but three kitchens.

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He is believed to have told associates that he was planning to leave the €15m-valued property at the end of last month. O'Donnell has indicated he is not going to return to Ireland but will remain in the UK. Sources close to the O'Donnell family did not deny the move.

Last December Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary Pat lost a mammoth London court case in which he tried to have their bankruptcy proceedings heard in the UK rather than Ireland. A judge described him as not being "a frank, or even a wholly truthful witness" when rejecting his efforts to declare bankruptcy in the UK.

Bank of Ireland had taken a case against O'Donnell and his wife over a €71m debt.

The O'Donnells' house in Westminster played a central role in proceedings as the property tycoon sought to prove in court that his primary residence and centre of operations was in the UK.

The property was put up for sale in 2010, with auctioneers Foxton's describing its "three stunning kitchens, two study rooms, dining-room, library, media room", along with eight well-proportioned bedrooms. The home had been purchased in 2007 by Vico Barton Ltd, a Swiss-registered trust, for the couple's children for around €12.6m.

Last year the courts heard how the O'Donnells had been renting the home from the trust for just €5,000 per month. They claimed that they hadn't been able to find anyone else to rent the property.

Meanwhile it has emerged that one of the O'Donnells' prime assets – the Sanctuary Building in London – has been flipped for a massive profit, less than two years after lenders forced the family to sell their stake in the €202m- valued building.

Irish Independent

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