Lawyer in Dunne row will testify for NAMA
Published 24/11/2012 | 05:00
A LAWYER involved in a bitter legal dispute with Gayle Killilea is set to become NAMA's key witness in its US lawsuit against the socialite and her husband, bust developer Sean Dunne.
New York attorney Philip Teplen was sacked as trustee of a property being developed by Ms Killilea last year after the gossip columnist turned property developer accused him of swindling $500,000 (€386,000) from her.
Now NAMA has taken legal moves to get Mr Teplen to testify against the Dunnes, the Irish Independent has learnt.
The so-called toxic bank is moving to subpoena Mr Teplen to give a deposition on his dealings with the Dunnes, according to court records filed in the US.
If the subpoena is successfully served, Mr Teplen will be legally obliged to give evidence unless he can successfully argue that he cannot disclose information about a former client.
NAMA claims he has knowledge of at least one of a series of property deals which allegedly put millions of euro beyond the reach of creditors.
Mr Teplen also acted as Ms Killilea's immigration lawyer when she and her husband moved to the millionaire's enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut, two years ago.
But they fell out in December 2010, when Mr Teplen allegedly failed to return $500,000 which he had been holding for her for use in a property deal in Chicago.
NAMA's move to use Mr Teplen as a witness is the latest development in its protracted dispute with the Dunnes.
The agency initiated proceedings against the couple and a number of related companies earlier this year in a bid to enforce a €185m High Court judgment against Mr Dunne – once dubbed the Baron of Ballsbridge over his failed plans to development a 37-storey office tower in the Dublin suburb.
The agency alleges money originally made by Mr Dunne was channelled through his wife to pay for a series of property deals in the US and Switzerland.
Three of the properties identified by NAMA sold for a combined total of €5.2m more than they were bought for.
Mr Dunne denies ever transferring assets to his wife as part of any fraud.
Court papers, seen by the Irish Independent, reveal NAMA intends to rely on testimony from Mr Teplen in relation to one of the property deals.
NAMA has claimed Ms Killilea would not have had the money in her own right to carry out the deal.