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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Sean Dunne has applied for green card to stay in US indefinitely

Cormac McQuinn

Published 13/01/2014 | 02:30

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Gayle Killilea and her husband Sean Dunne. Photo: Tony Gavin
Gayle Killilea and her husband Sean Dunne. Photo: Tony Gavin

BANKRUPT developer Sean Dunne is hoping to be granted a green card to allow him to stay in the United States indefinitely, court papers have revealed.

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Mr Dunne has been living in Connecticut since 2010 on the basis of an E-2 Visa, which allows holders to stay in the US after making a sizeable investment there.

The builder has said that his wife, Gayle Killilea, made the necessary investment with her construction company Mountbrook USA LLC.

Now court filings show that he has asked Bruce A Morrison, described in the papers as an attorney practising in Connecticut, to prepare his application for a green card.

Last night, immigration lawyer and former Connecticut congressman Bruce A Morrison refused to confirm if he was the lawyer acting on Mr Dunne's behalf.

He told the Irish Independent: "Legal representation is a private matter. I don't really comment on who my clients are and aren't.

"I can't really comment on legal representation."

The former congressman famously sponsored a law in the early 1990s that gave almost 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants green cards to work in the United States, which became known as the "Morrison visa".

Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in the US last March declaring debts of almost $1bn (€731m). Major creditors NAMA and Ulster Bank have opposed Mr Dunne's bankruptcy application through the US courts.

Ulster Bank, which obtained a €164m High Court judgment against Mr Dunne in 2012, has also pursued bankruptcy proceedings against Mr Dunne in Ireland and he has been declared bankrupt in both jurisdictions.

Mr Dunne opposed the Irish bankruptcy ruling, claiming that he has not lived in Ireland since 2007, living in Paris, Geneva and London before settling in the United States.

BANKRUPTCY

The 59-year-old is challenging the refusal of the High Court to overturn his Irish bankruptcy in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Mr Dunne is seeking permanent US residency by applying for a green card.

While the E-2 Visa must be renewed on a regular basis, a green card would allow Mr Dunne to apply for US citizenship after five years.

Court papers show how he has instructed Mr Morrison "to prepare a petition and application for him to acquire lawful permanent residence (a green card) as quickly as that status can be obtained".

The lawyer's opinion, which is included in filings last month -- but is itself undated -- states: "Processing of such submissions is expected to be concluded in approximately one year.

"Based on a prior application involving very similar facts, approval is anticipated."

Irish Independent

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