Tuesday 22 August 2017

Gayle Killilea 'has not received any benefit from sale of €14m home', court hears

Killilea has legally separated from her bankrupt developer husband Sean Dunne

Gayle Killilea, pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic: Collins Courts
Gayle Killilea, pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

Gayle Killilea, who has legally separated from her bankrupt developer husband Sean Dunne, says she has not received any benefit from the €14m sale of a house on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road.

Ms Killilea is a businesswoman in her own right and Mr Dunne owes her and her children a lot of money, she said in an affidavit to the High Court.

She says she has produced evidence to show Mr Dunne transferred ownership of "Walford", Shrewsbury Road to her in 2005 long before he was declared bankrupt in 2013 over default on some €164m in loans to Ulster Bank. 

However, Ms Killilea believes the likely beneficary of the sale of Walford last year is John Dunne, her stepson and Sean's son from his first marriage. 

Gayle Killilea and husband Sean Dunne at their former home in Ballsbridge in 2008. Photo: Derek Speirs
Gayle Killilea and husband Sean Dunne at their former home in Ballsbridge in 2008. Photo: Derek Speirs

It was sold for €14.2m by a Cypriot registered company, Yesreb, to Celtic Trustees which is held in a family trust whose settlor is financier Dermot Desmond. 

Ms Killilea is challenging the basis for an injunction preventing her reducing her assets below €50m because of what an official overseeing her husband's bankruptcy investigates says is a scheme by the couple to put Mr Dunne's assets beyond the reach of  his creditors.

Ms Killilea wants to cross examine the bankruptcy official, official assignee Chris Lehane, over the evidence which he (Lehane) used to obtain the injunction freezing her assets.

She says Mr Lehane did not substantiate the grounds on which he got freezing injunction and was reckless as to how he did so by not providing evidence for matters which he purported to be beliefs or facts.

Gayle Killilea, pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic: Collins Courts
Gayle Killilea, pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic: Collins Courts

Mr Lehane denies her claims.

The court heard some of the evidence Mr Lehane obtained for his case came from a search on a house in the K-Club in Kildare in 2007.

A handwritten "letter of wishes" was found which was signed by Mr Dunne, Ms Killelea and John Dunne in which Sean said he "regarded himself as the owner of Walford".

Alan Doherty SC, for Ms Killilea, said there were several matters, including that letter of wishes, which his client wanted the opportunity to challenge Mr Lehane on if the court gave permission to cross examine him.

Gayle Killilea, pictured leaving the Four Courts .Pic: Collins Courts
Gayle Killilea, pictured leaving the Four Courts .Pic: Collins Courts

Certain of the evidence he obtained came from witnesses who gave evidence as part of bankruptcy proceedings taken by Mr Lehane against Mr Dunne. 

It was as matter of fair procedures and redressing the balance that Ms Killilea must be entitled to clarify the evidence of those witnesses as part of the cross-examination of Mr Lehane, counsel said.

Mr Doherty argued that some of what Mr Lehane had said in his affidavit for these proceedings was a "gross mis-statement of facts".   If cross-examination of Mr Lehane was allowed, it would deal with a lot of these issues.

These included addressing claims that Mr Dunne gifted some €100m at at time when he was insolvent.   Ms Killilea would produce an expert to say this was not correct and that Mr Dunne was solvent.

Just before Ms Killilea's affidavit was opened to the court, Ms Justice Caroline Costello questioned why her address had not been included in the document as was standard procedure and part of the constitutional requirement that justice is administered in public.

The court had heard earlier she had given an address as Stillman Lane, Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, but Mr Lehane said she was not living there and the house was empty of furniture and up for sale.

Mr Doherty said her address was in a sealed envelope and this had been done for reasons including that his client had complained about intrusions on her and her family's privacy including being photographed going to mass.   Her current address was written on sheet of paper and handed to the judge.

In her replying affidavit to Mr Lehane, Ms Killilea complained the Irish freezing proceedings were an abuse of process as a similar freezing order had been sought in the US in 2012 by NAMA but was refused.  

Mr Lehane sought the injunction on the basis that Ulster Bank had undertaken it would pay any damages should the full action against Ms Killilea be unsuccessful, the court heard.

She said she was judicially separated in 2010 and has suffered abuse, harassment and intimidation which has had an affect on her well being.

She said she nor Sean Dunne own the Cyrpriot company, Yesreb, which had sold Walford, as Mr Lehane had claimed. 

The case continues.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News