Friday 17 November 2017

Dunne's US bankruptcy plan dealt a major blow

Sean Dunne
Sean Dunne
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

BUST developer Sean Dunne's chances of securing a quickie bankruptcy in the US have been dealt a blow as NAMA has filed a formal objection to the discharge of his debts.

One-time 'Baron of Ballsbridge' Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in the US state of Connecticut at the end of March with debts of more than $940m (€735m).

He said at the time that he hoped to be debt-free in six months – but now faces a potentially lengthy series of court hearings.

Last night he ploughed ahead with his efforts to proceed with the process, submitting papers showing he has completed a course in financial management, a requirement if he hopes to be debt-free under US law.

However, the objection lodged by NAMA is likely to cause a significant delay. The complaint contains allegations that Mr Dunne made false statements in bankruptcy filings and at a recent creditors' meeting.

Mr Dunne has previously rejected claims made by NAMA including those about alleged transfers of assets to his wife Gayle Killilea and involvement in property transactions in the US.

His lawyer James Berman did not respond to a request for comment about the latest allegations last night.

NAMA last year secured a €185m High Court judgment against Mr Dunne over loans he secured with bailed-out Irish banks during the boom and is one of his main creditors.

It used its subsidiary National Asset Loan Management Ltd (NALM) to object to his bid to be discharged from debt.

In its complaint, NALM points out that debtors aren't entitled to a discharge if they "knowingly or fraudulently" make "false oath or account".

It claims that Mr Dunne made 22 "omissions and misstatements under oath" between his bankruptcy filings.

LAWYERS

NALM's lawyers claim that he did this "deliberately, fraudulently and/or with reckless indifference to the truth" and that by virtue of his alleged actions "is not entitled to a discharge".

The agency also claims that Mr Dunne has "transferred, removed and/or concealed his interests in assets, monies and property during the years leading up to the filing of his petition".

NAMA has previously claimed that Mr Dunne has made fraudulent transfers of assets to his wife Gayle, who used the funds to invest in property in the US.

Mr Dunne always rejected the allegations and denied any involvement in those property deals.

Irish Independent

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