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Liquidator appointed to Dunne firm after Ulster Bank petition

The High Court has made orders winding up a company, whose directors include developer Sean Dunne, that guaranteed the liabilities of a firm which borrowed money to acquire the Berkeley Court and Jurys Hotel sites in Dublin 4.

Ulster Bank, represented by Declan Murphy, yesterday petitioned the court to appoint a liquidator to MJBCH Ltd after the firm failed to satisfy a demand it made for the repayment of €262m advanced to purchase the sites.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy appointed Declan Taite of RSM Farrell Grant Sparks as official liquidator to the company with a registered address at Merrion Square, Dublin 2, after finding that the company was hopelessly insolvent and unable to pay its debts.

The court heard that the company was established in 2006 as Mountbrook Merrion Road Development Ltd before changing its name to MJBCH in October 2007. The company's directors are Sean Dunne and Ross Connolly.

MJBCH sole shareholder is Padholme, an Irish-registered company also with a registered address at Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

In 2005 and 2006, DCD builders borrowed almost €400m from a syndicate of banks with plans to build a €1.5bn high-rise mixed development, with a 37-storey tower as the centrepiece.

That plan was rejected in January 2009 by An Bord Pleanala.

Mr Murphy said it was the bank's case MJBCH had entered into agreements with the bank, which guaranteed all liabilities of DCD builders, the parent company in a group of companies controlled by Mr Dunne.

Mr Murphy said the bank served a formal demand on the company for the payment of €262m in May of this year. However, the company had failed to repay the amount sought.

The bank was now seeking the appointment of a liquidator as it was in the best interest of all the parties concerned.

The judge, after making orders winding up the company, adjourned the case and made it returnable before a sitting of the Examiner's Court later this year.

The directors of MJBCH were also ordered to provide the court with a statement of affairs.

Irish Independent