Friday 21 July 2017

Dunne denies he pocketed €12m with home sale

High Court proceedings were issued by Mr Desmond seeking a declaration that Celtic Trustees Ltd had acquired good title to the property. The proceedings were admitted to the fast track Commercial Court yesterday (Stock photo)
High Court proceedings were issued by Mr Desmond seeking a declaration that Celtic Trustees Ltd had acquired good title to the property. The proceedings were admitted to the fast track Commercial Court yesterday (Stock photo)

Shane Phelan and Tim Healy

Bust developer Sean Dunne has denied claims he benefited to the tune of €12m from the sale of Walford, Ireland's most expensive home.

The one-time 'Baron of Ballsbridge' issued the denial in an affidavit lodged with the High Court, where he is battling against an application to extend his period of bankruptcy.

It came in response to allegations by official assignee in bankruptcy, Christopher Lehane, that Mr Dunne was the beneficial owner of Yesreb Holdings, the company which sold Walford in December.

Mr Lehane has claimed €12m from the sale was deposited in the account of a Swiss law firm for the benefit of Mr Dunne.

But the allegation has been denied by Mr Dunne and in separate proceedings yesterday, a court heard Mr Desmond did not believe Yesreb Holdings was beneficially owned by Mr Dunne.

Walford, on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road, became the most expensive home in Ireland in 2005 when it was purchased for €58m.

Mr Dunne denied being the purchaser of the property, but said he gifted his wife, former journalist turned property developer Gayle Killilea, the money to buy it.

It was subsequently bought for €14m on March 29, 2013, by Yesreb Holdings, a mysterious Cypriot company whose true ownership is unknown.

On the same day, Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in the US with debts of close to €700m.

The property was not included in a list of assets disclosed by Mr Dunne.

Mr Lehane is now seeking to extend Mr Dunne's period of bankruptcy for alleged non co-operation and hiding assets while he investigates the matter further.

Following the sale to Celtic Trustees Ltd, Mr Lehane registered a lis pendens over the property - a legal claim over it which may have to be resolved by the courts.

A request from Celtic Trustees Ltd for Mr Lehane to vacate the lis pendens was refused.

High Court proceedings were issued by Mr Desmond seeking a declaration that Celtic Trustees Ltd had acquired good title to the property. The proceedings were admitted to the fast track Commercial Court yesterday.

While Mr Lehane appeared to be claiming Yesreb was beneficially owned by Sean Dunne, Mr Desmond does "not believe this is correct".

Irish Independent

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