Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dunne claims email accounts hacked and NAMA data leaked

Indebted businessman tells court he 'shut down' access to communications

Sean Dunne pictured in New York over the weekend.
Sean Dunne pictured in New York over the weekend.

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

BUST developer Sean Dunne has claimed two of his email accounts were hacked.

The one-time 'Baron of Ballsbridge' also complained to NAMA that someone in the agency was leaking confidential information relating to him, the Irish Independent has learnt.

The explosive allegations emerged in legal papers submitted to a US court where Mr Dunne has filed for bankruptcy and is fighting a lawsuit from NAMA.

The Carlow-born businessman, who has debts of close to €700m and owes NAMA €185m, had been asked by the agency to disclose emails and other information related to his business dealings as part of the legal proceedings.

However, lawyers for Mr Dunne said he could not provide the agency with certain emails because he had shut down the accounts on "two occasions".

This was after "he became aware that there was evidence that his personal email account was being hacked".

The developer has not said who he suspects was responsible for the alleged hacking.

As well as the emails, NAMA had also requested the disclosure of bank accounts, credit card statements, receipts, tax bills, tax returns and records relating to properties in Switzerland, Connecticut and New York.

It alleged Mr Dunne kept the existence of a Swiss bank account, controlled by him and his wife, Gayle Killilea, secret.

However, in the legal papers Mr Dunne's lawyers denied he had withheld information about any relevant bank accounts.

Separately, depositions given in private last year by two NAMA executives, who handled Mr Dunne's portfolio at different times, have now been disclosed.

One, involving former senior asset manager Kevin Nowlan, reveals that Mr Dunne complained to the agency in 2011 that confidential information about him was being leaked from within NAMA, which is a criminal offence.

Mr Dunne made the complaint after a media report that a receiver was about to be appointed over his NAMA properties.

Mr Nowlan said at the deposition that Mr Dunne had made the complaint to him and that he had passed it on to NAMA's legal department.

NAMA told the Irish Independent it had dealt with the complaint appropriately, but declined to comment further.

The agency disclosed to the Dail's Public Accounts Committee last December that there were two former executives being investigated by gardai. However, it is understood neither case relates to any alleged disclosure of confidential information about Mr Dunne.

The Nowlan deposition and another one, by NAMA asset recovery manager John Coleman, gave considerable detail about why the agency moved against Mr Dunne.

The businessman's lawyers have raised questions over whether the agency was correct to appoint a receiver.

The depositions reveal the decision was taken after the agency receiving reports from international corporate investigations firm Kroll and from accountancy firm Farrell Grant Sparks (FGS).

The Kroll report formed the basis for a complaint by NAMA that Dunne and his wife used lawyers and shell companies to hide assets from creditors.

The allegation related to four property deals that NAMA says Dunne never declared when he provided the agency with a sworn statement of affairs.

Three of the four deals resulted in properties being sold for a combined total of €5.2m more than they were bought for.

Mr Dunne has denied owning any of the properties or benefiting from them financially.

The FGS report also highlighted the alleged transfers of assets from Mr Dunne to his wife.

It recommended the appointment of a receiver in November 2010. However, according to Mr Nowlan, the agency's credit committee decided to "engage further" with Mr Dunne "to see whether we could negotiate a revised business plan more acceptable to NAMA".

The committee also wanted "unanswered questions" clarified. Although fresh proposals were made by Mr Dunne, NAMA decided to put a receiver on standby the following January before official appointing one that July.

"In NAMA, it was standard practice to run (a) dual process to attempt to seek consensual agreement with the debtor but at the same time also running an enforcement line," said Mr Nowlan.

Irish Independent

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