BoI disputes solicitor's UK address for bankruptcy
BANK of Ireland has claimed solicitor Brian O'Donnell – who it is challenging over a UK bankruptcy bid – is only in London "on a temporary basis" while the businessman has reasserted he will not come back to Ireland.
Yesterday was the final day of hearings in the contentious case where Mr O'Donnell and his wife Mary Pat – who once presided over a €1bn property empire – are trying to have their bankruptcy declared in Britain, a move which is being contested by the bank.
Judge Guy Newey reserved judgement in the case, which has taken place over seven days in the High Court in London and involved a series of allegations and subsequent rebuttals from each side.
The O'Donnells say their centre of main interest is in London and they should be allowed to declare bankruptcy there.
In Ireland, bankruptcy can last up to 12 years while, in the UK, it can run for just a year.
The O'Donnells say most of their business dealings have been in the UK since 2005. Bank of Ireland want them declared bankrupt in Ireland.
In closing arguments yesterday, counsel for the bank, Gabriel Moss, said it was "stretching credibility" to claim that the couple are in London permanently.
They have a mansion in Dublin where they can live rent-free, he said. The house, in Killiney, is in a trust for their four children.
He said there was no credible evidence that the couple's business affairs, as they claim, are run from their house in Westminster nor that they had notified creditors of their move.
The O'Donnell's barrister Paul Burton said the couple had been doing business in the UK since 2005, had bought a property which was a home and office in 2007 and made the move to London permanently last December.