Tuesday 21 November 2017

Desmond's row over 'Ireland's most expensive home'

Edwardian property Walford
Edwardian property Walford
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Financier Dermot Desmond and members of his family have issued legal proceedings against the official handling the bankruptcy of bust developer Sean Dunne in a dispute thought to be linked to Ireland's most expensive home.

A trust linked to Mr Desmond is reported to have recently bought Walford, on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road, from a mysterious Cypriot company, Yesreb, which had owned the property since 2013.

Prior to then, it had been owned by Mr Dunne's wife Gayle Killilea, who the developer says he gifted €58m to purchase the Edwardian-era property in 2005.

But official assignee Christopher Lehane believes Mr Dunne was always the beneficial owner and that the property should have been included in his bankruptcy estate.

Mr Lehane is believed to have been in contact with the Desmond trust in recent weeks, but it is understood the trust wishes to proceed with the purchase of the property.

High Court proceedings were commenced against Mr Lehane on Monday by Mr Desmond, his children Brett, Ross, Derry and Zoe, and a company called Celtic Trustees Ltd.

Dermot Desmond has issued legal proceedings against the official handling the bankruptcy of Sean Dunne
Dermot Desmond has issued legal proceedings against the official handling the bankruptcy of Sean Dunne

The Desmonds are being represented by top corporate law firm William Fry.

Neither Mr Desmond nor his lawyers had any comment to make last night. Mr Lehane's office also declined to comment on the case.

It is unclear what plans lie in store for the house, which stands on 1.8 acres of land.

Yesreb, whose owners have never been identified, failed to secure planning permission for the construction of four new houses on the site in 2015.

Sean Dunne. Photo: Collins
Sean Dunne. Photo: Collins

Mr Lehane has been investigating issues related to the property as part of Mr Dunne's sprawling bankruptcy proceedings, which has involved litigation in Ireland, the US and South Africa.

In an affidavit filed with the High Court last year, Mr Lehane said he believed the property fell within Mr Dunne's bankruptcy estate.

Irish Independent

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