A DEVELOPER who is alleged to have unlawfully diverted over $13m (€9.5m) for his own benefit from $50m (€36.8m) paid towards the completion of a luxury resort in the Caribbean used the money for grandiose projects, it was claimed in the High Court.
Padraig O'Halloran (42) was looking at a range of jets and had made payments towards a $1.5m (€1.1m) Falcon jet in the Caribbean, as well as attempting to buy a racetrack in St Lucia, the court was told.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern was told that in one payment out of $200,000 (€147,000), a reference was made to an allocation of $50,000 for a Halloween party.
It has been alleged that Mr O'Halloran misappropriated the funds and that various payments were made by his company to Irish bank accounts, including $1.6m (€1.18m) into his Irish accounts in 2009 and 2010 and $358,000 (€264,000) into the Irish account of his father Donal O'Halloran.
There were also payments of €120,000 and $72,000 (€53,000) to Weddings by Franc and €20,000 to Adare Manor, it was claimed.
The owners and operators of the luxury resort in Buccament Bay, St Vincent and the Grenadines – Harlequin Property SVG Ltd and Harlequin Hotels and Resorts Ltd – have brought an action against Mr O'Halloran.
They claim that he also bought a property in Ireland; properties and businesses in the Carib-bean; a $1.5m (€1.1m) Falcon private jet and other items of expenditure designed to support his lavish lifestyle.
Harlequin's counsel Paul Gallagher said Mr O'Halloran was looking at jets and setting aside very substantial sums.
He said the money was sent in good faith by Harlequin but was then going out instantaneously to other purposes. Mr O'Halloran, he said, had lost the run of himself and used the money for grandiose projects.
Referring to payments to Weddings by Franc, counsel said the wedding never took place.
Harlequin engaged Mr O'Halloran and his construction company, the ICE Group, in 2008 to complete the construction of a multi-million dollar tourist development in Buccament Bay, St Vincent and the Grenadine.
It now wants restitution, damages and compensation for alleged breach of fiduciary duty in relation to the alleged Irish payments and transfers into Irish accounts.
Mr O'Halloran, of Shippool, Inishannon, Co Cork, has denied all the claims including the misappropriation of funds and that he unlawfully diverted over $13m (€9.6m) for the Buccament Bay project to his own personal benefit.
He further denies that €20,000 was paid to Adare Manor from the funds and that the purchase of his house in Cork was funded from Harlequin funds.
The developer denies that the payment for the Cork house was part of a systematic and deliberate fraud, including extensive purchases in the Caribbean, and that he acted dishonestly or in bad faith or committed a fraud.
Proceedings are also against Mr O'Halloran's father, retired businessman Donal O'Halloran, of Ballineaspig, Cork.
It is claimed that he ought to have known the payments which were made to him were monies to which he had no lawful entitlement.
Mr O'Halloran Snr has denied the claims and says the payments were lawful and a repayment of funds previously advanced to his son.
The court also heard yesterday that Padraig O'Halloran faces other proceedings in the Caribbean in relation to alleged breach of contract surrounding the construction work carried out on the luxury resort.