Saturday 17 February 2018

Blake O'Donnell says bank's claims over imminent sale of €7.7m London property are 'scurrilous'

Blake O'Donnell
Blake O'Donnell
Brian O'Donnell and his son Blake

Tim Healy

BLAKE O'Donnell, a son of retired solicitor Brian O'Donnell, has described as "scurrilous" a bank's claims against him and others about the imminent sale of a valuable property in London.

Blake, who is also a solicitor, was responding to claims made in the High Court last week by Bank of Ireland (BoI) when it sought orders preventing members of the O'Donnell family and three British Virgin Island-registered companies from dissipating an estimated st£6m (€7.7m) expected to come from the sale of a property called Columbus Courtyard in London's Canary Wharf.

Brian O'Donnell and his son Blake
Brian O'Donnell and his son Blake

When the matter returned before the court today, Blake O'Donnell said he had been "caught on the hop" by the bank's application.

He had not been furnished with many of the legal documents submitted by the bank  as part of its application for an order preventing assets from being dissipated.  He now found himself having to fight the matter in three different jurisdictions, Ireland, the UK and BVI.

He asked the court to put the matter back for six weeks to allow him respond to the bank's claims.

His father, Brian, told Mr Justice Hedigan that BoI had no interest or relationship at any stage with the Columbus Courtyard property.

Stephen Dowling Bl, for the bank, said his client was concerned about the proceeds of the sale being dissipated and was standing over the claims it had made to the court.

Counsel said the six week adjournment was too long.

Mr Justice John Hedigan said he wanted to be fair to the parties, in what was a complex matter.

He wanted to have the "status quo" preserved.

He was prepared to adjourn the matter for six weeks to allow Blake O Donnell prepare a sworn statement in reply to BoI's claims.

However, the judge said he would still hear Wednesday BoI's application to extend the injunction granted last week, pending the full hearing of the dispute.

This was unless the sides could come to an agreement between themselves over BoI's application that undertakings previously given in relation to dealings in the BVI interests being converted into formal court orders.

BoI was concerned these undertakings were no longer enough and wants them to be replaced with court orders.

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