Tuesday 12 November 2019

O'Donnells should be adjudicated bankrupt here, High Court told

Brian O'Donnell with his wife Dr. Mary Patricia O'Donnell
Brian O'Donnell with his wife Dr. Mary Patricia O'Donnell

Aodhan O'Faolain

SOLICITOR Brian O'Donnell and his wife Dr. Mary Patricia should be adjudicated bankrupt by the Irish courts as their centre of main business interest is here and not England, the High Court has heard.

The court today began hearing Bank of Ireland's (BOI) petition to have the O'Donnells declared bankrupt.

The O'Donnells have opposed the application on grounds including that Ireland is not their main centre of interest.

In December 2011, BOI obtanied judgment for €71.57m against the couple, arising out of their failure to repaid loans advanced by the bank.

That judgment was not satisfied.

In March 2012 the couple applied to the English courts to be adjudicated as bankrupt.

They made their application to the courts in that jurisdiction on the grounds their Centre of Main Interest was the UK, where they reside.

BOI opposed the O'Donnells application to the English Courts, and initiated proceedings to have the couple adjudicated bankrupt in Ireland.

Counsel said bankruptcy petitons were formerly presented by BOI in respect of Brian O'Donnell on June 1, 2012, and his wife on June 7, 2012.

Those proceedings were adjourned from time to time to allow the Uk proceedings run their course.

The English High Court dismissed the O'Donnell's application. That decision was upheld on subsequent appeals.

Opening the case for BOI, Mark Sanfey SC said the English courts have "definitively held" the O'Donnells centre of main interest "is Ireland and not the UK."

The O'Donnells, who were not present in court yesterday, have opposed the bank's petition.

Mr Sanfey said it is BOI case that the dates the petitions were formally presented are the relevant dates when it comes to adjudicating the place of the couple's main centre of interest.

Counsel said the BOI also rejected the O'Donnell's claims the petitions were not properly served or are technically flawed.

Counsel added if the court were to hold the petitions were flawed, any such defects were not fatal to BOI's application to have the O'Donnells adjudicated as bankrupt.

The hearing continues.

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