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Bank due back in court for Dunne bankruptcy bid

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Sean Dunne

Sean Dunne

Sean Dunne

EFFORTS by Ulster Bank to have former 'Baron of Ballsbridge' Sean Dunne declared bankrupt here in Ireland are due back before the High Court in Dublin tomorrow.

The court is expected to be given details of what progress the bank has made in serving bankruptcy papers on Mr Dunne in the United States, having been given leave to do so by Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne on February 12.

Ulster Bank's wish to have the Carlow-born developer declared insolvent here in Ireland stems from a €164m debt he owes them on foot of personal guarantees he executed over loans relating to his plans for the redevelopment of the former Jury's and Berkeley Court hotels in Ballsbridge.

In arguing its case that Mr Dunne should be declared bankrupt in Ireland, lawyers for Ulster Bank told the High Court last February that, notwithstanding the fact that he had been living in the US, he was an Irish citizen.

The court was also told of the bank's view that Mr Dunne still carried on business in Ireland, acted as a landlord here and that his family continued to live here.

Commenting on the developer's residency status in the US, counsel for Ulster Bank, Bernard Dunleavy, said Mr Dunne was there on a temporary business visa.

While it is understood  the bank's summons server in the US has made numerous efforts over the past eight weeks to serve bankruptcy papers on Mr Dunne in Connecticut, those efforts have, to date, been unsuccessful.

And it remains unclear what impact Mr Dunne's application two weeks ago for bankruptcy in the US will have on Ulster Bank's ability to bring its application to have him declared bankrupt here.

Defending his decision to go through the far speedier US process at the time, the developer wrote: "I had not planned on filing for bankruptcy, I did not see much point as I have no assets left to distribute among the banks I owe money to. Ulster Bank forced me into this position by applying to make me bankrupt in Ireland. Regrettably, I do not live in Ireland any more. I was forced and indeed advised to take matters into my own hands in the US, where I reside and work, where my family lives, contrary to what Ulster Bank claimed when they made their application in the High Court."

Irish Independent