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Tycoons transfer luxury homes to wives

IN a week when we heard that the Anglo bailout might cost us €34bn and Derek Quinlan's family home on Shrewsbury Road was put on the market for €7.5m, the Sunday Independent has established that several leading developers have put family homes and other properties in their wives' names.

One of the Anglo Golden Circle, builder Seamus Ross, of Menolly Homes, has put three Dublin properties in his wife's name.

One of these is a three-storey over-basement Georgian property on Harrington Street in the capital. This was transferred into Mrs Ross's name on July 13, 2009. The property next door, split into offices and apartments, is currently on the market for €1m, giving some indication of the value of properties there.

Of the other two properties in Mrs Ross's name, one seems to be a shop or office in the Village Centre in Lucan -- put in her name on February 20, 2009, while the other is on Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin, registered to her on February 13, 2009.

Menolly Homes' best-known developments include the wealthy enclave of Farmleigh Woods and the five-star Dylan Hotel in the capital.

The Anglo Golden Circle is a group of 10 long-standing clients of the bank to whom it lent €451m in an undisclosed deal so that they could buy 10 per cent of the bank's shares in order to reduce Sean Quinn's 25 per cent stake, which was held through contracts for difference.

In May of last year, another Nama top-10 developer and Golden Circle member, Gerry Gannon -- the co-owner of the K Club luxury golf and leisure club who built apartment complexes in Dundrum, the somewhat failed "new town" of Clongriffin and the Malahide Marina Village -- also put a swathe of properties in his wife's name.

Among these is a house believed to be the family home on St Fintan's Road in Howth and 52 acres of land on nearby Carrickbrack Road.

These were registered to Margaret Gannon on May 21, 2009, and December 10, 2009, respectively.

Also registered to Mrs Gannon on May 21, 2009, was a large three-storey over-basement redbrick property in the leafy, wealthy embassy enclave of Elgin Road in Ballsbridge.

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As of the same date, three apartments in the Malahide Marina Village -- some of which sold for more than €1m during the property boom -- are also now in his wife's name, as is a property in Templeogue and five more on Strand Road in Portmarnock. A further two properties on Seaview Avenue in Clontarf were registered to Mrs Gannon on December 10 last year.

A third top-10 developer, Joe O'Reilly -- whose company Chartered Land is perhaps best known for building Dundrum Shopping Centre -- has transferred the family home, a pile on Kerrymount Avenue in the upmarket suburb of Foxrock, to his wife.

The transfer was registered on March 5, 2009, according to filings from the Registry of Deeds. On November 2, 2009, a number of apartments at Riverhall in Castleknock were also put in her name.

While this might leave the O'Reilly family insulated somewhat from the economic crisis, life is a lot tougher for some of the retail tenants in her husband's shopping centre out in Dundrum. This week, according to a report in the Irish Times, Chartered Land demanded rent reviews there of up to 40 per cent from some, leaving many of them fearing for the future viability of their businesses.

Meanwhile, Liam Carroll, whose Zoe Group empire collapsed into insolvency last year owing the banks more than a €1bn, is another Nama top-10 developer who has resorted to putting two properties in his wife's name.

One is the family home, an imposing property in Mount Merrion hidden behind high walls and security gates. It was registered to Roisin Carroll on March 18, 2009.

Around the corner, another smaller house was empty the last time the Sunday Independent called to take a look. It was registered to Mrs Carroll on March 26 last year.

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