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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Killilea fights NAMA over New York land probe

Published 27/08/2014 | 02:30

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Gayle Killilea Dunne
Sean Dunne and wife Gayle Killilea
Property developer Sean Dunne and his wife Gayle Killilea. Ray Cullen

Socialite turned property developer Gayle Killilea is fighting attempts by NAMA to investigate her involvement in a multi-million euro New York land deal.

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Ms Killilea (inset) has initiated legal moves which, if successful, would severely limit the level of information NAMA can obtain about the purchase of a property in the fashionable SoHo district.

NAMA has been investigating several property deals involving Ms Killilea after claiming these were made possible after her husband, bust developer Sean Dunne, fraudulently transferred assets to her.

The agency is seeking to recover €185m owed by Dunne, who is involved in bankruptcy proceedings in Ireland and the US, where he has lived since 2010.

But in legal papers filed by Ms Killilea, the former gossip columnist has fought back against NAMA's move to probe the New York apartment project she has invested in.

She has also alleged NAMA has subjected her to a "four year concerted campaign of harassment", despite the fact she is not a NAMA debtor.

Earlier this month NAMA asked a court in Connecticut to compel a New York law firm to reveal information related to the $4.9m (€3.65m) purchase of the property by a company called TJD 21 LLC, which is owned by Killilea and Sean Dunne's son John Dunne.

The building company has lodged plans for an apartment development on the site and reportedly expects to spend an additional $13m (€9.7m) on the project.

Now Ms Killilea has asked the court for a "protective order" to limit the information provided by the law firm to documents that relate solely to her husband, who has acted an employee of her building business.

She claims NAMA is seeking attorney-client privileged communications and other private financial and business information it is not entitled to.

Ms Killilea has alleged NAMA's "harassment" of her has consisted of leaks to the media and hiring investigative agencies to spy on her.

This has had a negative impact on her business affairs and financial and banking relationships, she claims.

Ms Killilea also alleges NAMA has sought to destroy her reputation in both her business and personal life with "vague and unsubstantiated allegations of fraud".

NAMA declined to comment on the claims.

Irish Independent

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