Sunday 26 March 2017

Judge adjourns bankruptcy case against solicitor Brian O’Donnell and wife

BANKRUPTCY proceedings against high-profile Dublin solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary Patricia have been adjourned.

The O'Donnells, who owe more than €75m to the Bank of Ireland, recently lost a court bid in London to be declared bankrupt there and have now launched proceedings to have that decision rescinded, the High Court heard today.

When the Irish bankruptcy case was mentioned before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne today, she was told the O'Donnells, who were denied the right to appeal by the London High Court last month, are bringing proceedings there under the Insolvency Act seeking the court to rescind its own order.

Counsel for Bank of Ireland, Mark Sanfey, said the O'Donnells were refused a right to appeal or a stay on the decision but have appealed in London on the basis of new evidence that should have been before the court at the time. Counsel said that case will be mentioned before the London High Court on February 1 next.

Counsel said the bank still wanted to go ahead with the proceedings here against the couple.

Ms Justice Dunne, granting an adjournment of the Irish proceedings until February 4 next, stressed she was not giving "a blanket adjournment" of everything until the appeal is determined. She was also "not closing or opening any doors" but putting back the matter to clarify on what date the London case will be heard.

Last month, London High Court's Mr Justice Newey found that Mr O’Donnell had not been a “frank, or even a wholly truthful witness” during his evidence in the two-week hearing in December.

Doubt had been cast on his credibility because of his failure to reveal that he earns a £120,000-a-year consultancy fee for managing an office block in London, which had been bought at the height of the success of his property empire, while he had been “evasive” on other issues.

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