Man fighting order to repay €900,000 to aunt (88)
A MAN is challenging a High Court order to repay €900,000 he says his 88-year-old aunt gave him from the €2.8m sale of her family home.
He must also move out of another house that she bought from the sale proceeds until she went into a nursing home suffering from dementia.
A High Court judge made the orders after finding the man had used undue influence to get the money.
The court heard the biggest single withdrawal, of €500,000, from the aunt's account into his occurred just before he learned efforts were being made to have her declared a ward of court.
The aunt, a widow with no children, was declared a ward in January 2010, and was later admitted to the nursing home where she still lives.
Mr Justice Kevin Feeney found the nephew put pressure on her to sell her Rathgar, Dublin, home, using a forged Department of Social and Family Affairs letter threatening the State would take possession of the house.
The nephew, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has appealed Mr Justice Feeney's findings, and the Supreme Court is to give its decision by the end of this month. He told the appeal that his aunt had said he could keep "anything over the €1m" from the sale of her home in Dublin.
Legal action against him was brought by a committee appointed to act on her behalf as a ward of court. He brought a counter-claim which included seeking damages for spending 10 days in prison for contempt of court for failing to explain where the money had gone.
Mr Justice Feeney said the aunt had been living alone in Rathgar. In 2006 she was hospitalised. She was discharged into the care of her nephew who she lived with in Wexford from April 2006 until she went into the home.
In September 2007, the Rathgar house was sold for €2.8m and in April 2008, the aunt bought a house in Wexford for €744,000 which she moved into with the nephew, his daughter, her boyfriend and a Polish woman.
The balance from the Rathgar sale, around €1.9m, was put into a deposit account. Between May 2008 and April 2009, around €900,000 was withdrawn by the nephew.
Mr Justice Feeney ordered the nephew to provide a full account of his interest in two apartments in Poland.
He had tried to mislead the court in relation to these properties and on a number of other matters, the judge found.