A DEVELOPER, who allegedly unlawfully diverted over US$13m for his own benefit from US$50m paid towards the completion of a luxury resort in the Caribbean, lost the run of himself using money for grandiose projects, it was claimed in the High Court today.
Padraig O'Halloran (42) of Shippool, Inishannon, Co. Cork, it is claimed, was looking at a range of jets and had made payments towards a US$1.5m Falcon jet in the Caribbean as well as attempting to buy a racetrack in St Lucia.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern was also told that in one payment out of US$200,000, a reference was made to an allocation of US$50,000 for a Halloween party.
Mr O'Halloran, it has been alleged, misappropriated the funds and various payments were made by his company to Irish bank accounts including US$1.6m in to his Irish accounts in 2009 and 2010 and US$358,000 in to the Irish account of his father Donal O'Halloran.
There were also payments of EU€120,000 and US$72,000 to to Weddings by Franc and €20,000 to Adare Manor.
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 claiming Mr O'Halloran also bought a property in Ireland; properties and businesses in the Carribbean, a US$1.5million Falcon private jet, and other items of personal expenditure designed to support his lavish lifestyle.
Now Harlequin wants restitution, damages and compensation for alleged breach of fiduciary duty in relation to the alleged Irish payments and transfers in to Irish accounts.
Mr O'Halloran has denied all the claims including the misappropriation of funds and unlawfully diverting over US$13million for the Buccament Bay project to his own personal benefit. He further denies that that €20,000 was paid to Adare Manor from the funds or that the purchase of his house in Cork was funded from Harlequin funds.
He has further denied that the payment for the Cork house was part of a systematic and deliberate fraud including extensive purchases in the Caribbean or that he acted dishonestly or in bad faith or committed a fraud.
Mr O'Halloran also denies he has dissipated all of the monies represented by the Irish payments on foot of personal expenditure or expenditure which is unrelated to the Buccament Bay project.
Yesterday, Harlequin counsel Paul Gallgher said Padraig O'Halloran was looking in to a range of jets and was setting aside very substantial sums.
The money, counsel said, was sent in good faith by Harlequin was going out instantaneously to other purposes. Mr O'Halloran, he said, was losing the run of himself and used the money for gradisose projects.
Referring to the payments to Weddings by Franc, counsel said the wedding never actually took place.
The proceedings arise as a result of Harlequin engaging 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 in St Vincent and the Grenadine to include villas, restaurants and swimming pool- to a deadline in July 2010.
They also against Mr O'Halloran's father, retired businessman Donal O'Halloran, Ballineaspig, Cork who it is claimed ought to have known the payments made to him were monies to which he had no lawful entitlement. Mr O'Halloran Snr has denied the claims and says the payments made to him were lawful and a repayment of funds previously advanced to his son.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern 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.