Wednesday 16 January 2019

Sean Dunne has 'zero interest' in €58m home

Businessman Sean Dunne filed for bankruptcy in the US. Picture: Collins
Businessman Sean Dunne filed for bankruptcy in the US. Picture: Collins

Tim Healy

Bankrupt businessman Sean Dunne says he has never been the owner of, and has "zero interest" in, a Dublin 4 property known as Walford which was purchased in 2005 for €58m.

Mr Dunne told the High Court that Walford, on leafy Shrewsbury Road, was bought in trust for his wife Gayle, was her asset, and has nothing to do with his bankruptcy.

He was under his second day of cross examination in his opposition to an application by official assignee (OA) in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane, to extend his bankruptcy for non-cooperation which is disputed.

The only person who was disputing ownership of Walford was Mr Lehane, Mr Dunne said. He said he came to an agreement with his wife Gayle, following his "messy divorce" from his first marriage, that all their assets were to be kept separately.

He said Gayle was "never a shareholder, director or bondholder" in regards to any of his assets and "vice-versa". The couple never "owned a motor car together", he added.

He accepted he had dealt with assets belonging to his wife based in the UK, the US and South Africa, but not in Ireland. He accepted he was the "driving force" behind several unsuccessful planning applications concerning Walford, bar one application in 2013 when he was in the US. He also accepted he had acted as a broker for a Cypriot company called Yesreb Holdings, whose ultimate beneficiaries are his children, in an unsuccessful attempt to sell Walford, which Yesreb acquired in the months before he was adjudicated bankrupt.

Mr Dunne said he hopes that other proceedings concerning the ownership of Walford, which Mr Lehane claims was beneficially owned by Mr Dunne, could be heard by the court "next week".

In 2013 Ulster Bank sought to have him adjudicated bankrupt here after he had defaulted on some €164m loans. The following month, Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut in the United States, when he claimed to have debts of $1bn and assets of $55m.

A US bankruptcy trustee was appointed in respect of Mr Dunne by a US court. The case resumes next week.

Irish Independent

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