Saturday 23 September 2017

Dunne doesn't mind NAMA seeing family court details

Sean Dunne: has no objection
Sean Dunne: has no objection

John Breslin

SEAN Dunne has said he has no objection to NAMA and the trustee involved in his US bankruptcy case obtaining details of two family court judgments handed down against him in Ireland.

But he does not want details of the judgments, totalling tens of millions of euro, to be widely circulated among the parties involved in the hugely complicated bankruptcy case in Connecticut.

The developer's lawyers filed a supplemental response to a motion by NAMA, through its subsidiary, National Asset Loan Management Ltd (NALM), asking the US court to allow it to apply to the High Court here for access to the records.

Mr Dunne's creditors included two individuals who have outstanding judgments against him, one for $44m (€33m), the other for $3.2m (€2.3m), which are the subject of a Supreme Court appeal.

In a filing with the Connecticut federal court, NAMA said it believed the first favours Mr Dunne's wife, Gayle Killilea, and the second his former wife, Jennifer Coyle.

The legal back and forth stems from contempt and compel motions filed by the government-appointed trustee, Richard Coan, which accused Mr Dunne of withholding information during hearings in the case. He was backed by the developer's two main creditors, NAMA and Ulster Bank.

CONTEMPT

But Mr Dunne argued that he could not reveal information about the family law proceedings as he would then be in contempt of Ireland's highly secretive in camera rules.

"A significant portion of the debtor's alleged contempt revolves around his concern for what has been referred to as Ireland's in camera rule that pertains to matrimonial legal proceedings," Mr Dunne's lawyer, James Berman, wrote.

He claimed the trustee refused to recognise the existence of the in camera rule.

"More egregiously, NAMA and Ulster Bank did not acknowledge the existence of the in camera rule," he added.

Yet in a "remarkable admission", according to Mr Berman, NAMA then filed its motion to lift a stay on other proceedings to allow it to apply to the Irish High Court for information on the judgments.

NAMA also revealed that it had in February already applied to the High Court for the same information as part of a different legal action.

"The debtor has no objection to the NALM motion," Mr Berman wrote, adding a footnote that NAMA, or NALM, may have already violated the in camera rule.

The High Court can waive the in camera rule to allow information to be disclosed.

Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy protection in the US in March, later listing debts of $1bn (€750m) and assets of less than $50m (€38m). NAMA has since launched a separate but related action objecting to the discharge of his debts.

Irish Independent

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