Wednesday 16 January 2019

Dunne moves to purge contempt of court order in US over emails


Developer Sean Dunne
Developer Sean Dunne
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Developer Sean Dunne has taken steps to purge himself of a contempt of court order in the United States, and avoid the prospect of being jailed for an alleged failure to disclose emails to his US bankruptcy trustee relating to his business dealings.

In an affidavit filed with the US bankruptcy court in Connecticut on Friday, February 9 last, the developer said that he had conducted a "good faith" search to locate the documents which had been sought by trustee, Richard Coan, under the terms of a subpoena first issued in July 2016.

Dunne said he had now provided Coan with copies of all emails he had located, other than those he would be including in a privilege log allowed for by Judge Julie Manning in a court hearing on January 23 last.

The Sunday Independent understands this document will be submitted to the court by this Friday, meeting the deadline set by the judge for the developer to purge his contempt.

Referring in his affidavit to certain emails Coan had been seeking relating to the business of Mountbrook USA, a company he had operated with his wife Gayle Killilea in the US prior to his declaration of bankruptcy in 2013, Dunne insisted these were no longer available to him.

The developer said he believed Coan had already obtained the relevant emails under a subpoena of Andy Smyth, a project manager who had been employed by Mountbrook USA between 2011 and 2012.

Dunne said that the Mountbrook USA emails related to "mundane project management matters" and had "no relevance to any issue" in the proceedings now being taken by the US bankruptcy trustee against his wife.

Coan has been seeking emails and other records from the Carlow-born developer as part of a lawsuit in which he wants to reverse the historic transfer of tens of millions of euro in assets between Dunne and his wife Gayle Killilea.

Coan claims the assets were fraudulently transferred and that the developer still controls and benefits from them, an accusation the couple deny.

While the developer says in his latest affidavit that emails from accounts he had operated in the past were not available to him as those accounts had been closed, he didn't want any adverse inference to be drawn from any emails the bankruptcy trustee might yet obtain from third parties with whom he had corresponded.

Dunne also notes that the official assignee in Ireland Chris Lehane has had possession of "many boxes of hard copy files since 2013". But while he believes these boxes may contain emails that might be relevant to the US bankruptcy trustee's subpoena, he says the official assignee has advised him he is not entitled to copies of them.

Dunne says he expects Coan can obtain the emails from Lehane directly, as the two officials have been working together managing his dual bankruptcy in the US and Ireland.

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