Will row developer had been quizzed by Ansbacher
Published 14/10/2010 | 05:00
THE late property developer Brian Rhatigan, whose will is the subject of a legal dispute, was questioned by a tribunal investigating secret off-shore Ansbacher accounts, the High Court heard yesterday.
Sharon Scally, solicitor and executor of the will, said he was questioned "by the Ansbacher tribunal" and the transcripts were made available to the Revenue who began an investigation into his affairs.
Ms Scally, principal of Amorys Solicitors, Sandyford, was giving evidence on the fourth day of testamentary challenge proceedings over the May 2005 will made by Mr Rhatigan.
The court has heard Mr Rhatigan only declared assets valued at between €2m and €3.3m when making the will, but also set up a number of trusts -- the value of which was unknown at the time of his death.
His widow says the value is at least €6.7m based on a Revenue assessment.
The main trust was the Cyprus-based "Golden Promise Trust", which a barrister and trust expert called Charles Haccius, a friend of Mr Rhatigan, provided advice on during meetings to draw up the will, the court was told.
There were also Isle of Man-based trusts called the "Doni" and "Dolphin" trusts, which also processed various assets and loans of Mr Rhatigan, including the proceeds from his former home, 'Chantilly', in Rathmichael, Dublin, where he lived with his partner Rachel Kiely and their two children, the court also heard.
Ms Scally has brought proceedings seeking an order that the 23-page will be admitted as his last will and testament.
His widow, Odilla Rhatigan, of 'Briodi', Brennanstown Road, Cabinteely, Dublin, is counter-claiming that her husband was not of sound mind when he made the will because he had severe mental impairment due to motor neurone disease.
Mrs Rhatigan says when their marriage broke down, he promised her she would benefit from half of his estate on the basis that she would not pursue a legal/judicial separation.
However, she said he put significant assets into trusts for the purpose of defeating her legal right to her share of the estate.
Ms Scally denies the claims and yesterday she said that while Mrs Rhatigan had accused her of having a conflict of interest by being both Mr Rhatigan's solicitor and executor, she [Mrs Rhatigan] had never explained why.
The case continues.