Saturday 1 November 2014

Accountancy firm 'confused' over asset transfers to wife Gayle

Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30

Gayle Killilea

MULTI-MILLION euro property deals involving socialite turned developer Gayle Killilea were only uncovered after NAMA hired international investigators to probe her husband's business dealings.

The agency hired Kroll, one of the world's foremost corporate forensic investigation firms, to uncover any possible dealings Sean Dunne had not informed it about.

This investigation threw up information about three property deals in the US and one in Switzerland.

NAMA had previously asked Ms Killilea, who has reinvented herself as a property developer in her own right, to voluntarily provide the agency with a statement of affairs and a net worth statement.

The request was made on the recommendation of accountancy firm Farrell Grant Sparks (FGS), which acted as independent reviewers of Mr Dunne's business case.

Former NAMA official Kevin Nowlan told US lawyers that FGS found a number of asset transfers which they "couldn't understand".

Ms Killilea told NAMA that she was under no legal obligation to provide any information as she was not a NAMA debtor.

However, the agency took the view that if she had benefited from the transfer of assets, these must be pursued.

One of the properties uncovered by Kroll was a €4.4m residence in Geneva, Switzerland, which Mr Dunne legally transferred his half share into Ms Killilea's ownership. It was later sold for a €580,000 profit. Mr Dunne says his name only ever appeared on property documents for residency reasons and that he never had "an equitable interest" in the property.

Kroll's report also linked Mr Dunne and Ms Killilea to properties in Greenwich, Connecticut, which were sold for substantial profits after being substantially demolished and rebuilt.

Salaries

NAMA senior asset recovery manager John Coleman told lawyers he did not believe Ms Killilea could have financed the purchase of a $2m (€1.49m) house in Greenwich without being transferred the money by her husband.

He said Ms Killilea herself had filed affidavits in legal proceedings in Ireland saying she got transfers from her husband in return for her leaving her job as a newspaper columnist.

"As far as I'm aware, columnist salaries in newspapers do not support the purchase of multi-million dollar properties," he said.

Irish Independent

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