Saturday 23 September 2017

Developer's estate could face €18m tax liability, court is told

Aodhain O Faolain

THE estate of the late property developer Brian Rhatigan could face a tax liability of €18m, the High Court heard yesterday.

His wife and daughter believe the developer had substantial assets not reflected in his will.

Mr Rhatigan, who died in 2006, was believed by the Revenue Commissioners to be evading tax and was investigated during the Ansbacher inquiry, said senior counsel James Dwyer.

Mr Dwyer, on behalf of the executor of Mr Rhatigan's estate, added that the accountancy firm Deloitte had said the estate could face a potential tax assessment of €18m.

Mr Dwyer told Odilla Gilson, a daughter of Mr Rhatigan, that her father's estate appeared insolvent and put it to her that Mr Rhatigan was reluctant to pay tax. Ms Gilson said she knew nothing of her father's tax affairs. She was being cross-examined by Mr Dwyer during the resumption of proceedings relating to the will of Mr Rhatigan (60), of 'Chantilly', Ballybride Road, Rathmichael, Dublin.

In the late 1990s, Mr Rhatigan became estranged from his wife Odilla, with whom he had three children, and he was living with his partner, Rachael Kiely -- with whom he had two children -- at the time of his death.

Odilla Rhatigan, of Briodi, Brennanstown Road, Cabinteely, has claimed she is entitled to half his estate and has alleged Mr Rhatigan had set up a trust to defeat or diminish her right to her share of the estate.

Mr Rhatigan, who had motor neurone disease, signed a will in May 2005 in which he made his solicitor, Sharon Scally, of Amorys Solicitors, Sandyford, a co-executor. Another executor has since died. A legal warning, or 'caveat', was entered to the will on behalf of Odilla Rhatigan in November 2008.

Ms Scally then brought proceedings seeking a High Court order that the will be admitted as Mr Rhatigan's last will and testament.

Last December, Ms Justice Laffoy ruled that Mr Rhatigan knew exactly what he was doing when he made his will.

Ms Gilson said her father had told her she and her brother were beneficiaries of trusts he had created and he also told her he had created trusts to safeguard his money and put it out of her mother's reach.

Odilla Rhatigan (64) said her husband had told her, after they separated, she would get half of everything.

Irish Independent

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