Friday 20 September 2019

Dunne's wife seeks to stop case over property transfer

Gayle Killilea, wife of Seán Dunne, at the Four Courts yesterday for a High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts
Gayle Killilea, wife of Seán Dunne, at the Four Courts yesterday for a High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

Gayle Killilea, wife of bankrupt developer Seán Dunne, wants to halt proceedings against her over the transfer of South African properties between the couple, the High Court heard.

The case relates to Mr Dunne's 2013 bankruptcy adjudications in both Ireland and the United States.

It was previously before the High Court when it rejected her claim America rather than Ireland was the appropriate forum for Ms Killilea's case.

She appealed and last January the Court of Appeal sent the question of which was the appropriate forum back to the High Court.

Yesterday, the High Court began re-hearing the matter.

The official in charge of Mr Dunne's Irish bankruptcy, official assignee Chris Lehane, claims there was a fraudulent transfer of assets in South Africa and Ireland between Mr Dunne and his wife.

Seán Dunne. Photo: Collins Courts
Seán Dunne. Photo: Collins Courts

Mr Lehane's action relates to agreements between the couple in 2005 and 2008 to transfer interests to her and a number of assets, including a hotel called 'Lagoon Beach' in Cape Town, South Africa, and shares in an entity call 'Mavior'.

Ms Killilea claims Mr Lehane's proceedings are unfair because they cover the same grounds as proceedings that have been brought in the US.

She says the Irish proceedings should be discontinued.

Opening the case, her counsel John O'Donnell said it was his client's case that "a substantial overlap" exists between proceedings in Ireland and the US.

It was their case that the US was the only jurisdiction where Mr Dunne's estate could be administered, and Mr Lehane had nothing to administer, counsel said.

It is also argued that America is the appropriate jurisdiction or forum for the proceedings, known as the doctrine of "forum non-conveniens".

Mr Lehane opposes the application and says that certain issues concerning Mr Dunne's estate should be heard in Ireland, while others should be heard by the US courts. The hearing, before Mr Justice Brian McGovern, continues.

Irish Independent

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