Tuesday 21 November 2017

Sean Dunne loses High Court bid to overturn bankruptcy

Sean Dunne
Sean Dunne

BANKRUPT developer Sean Dunne has lost his High Court bid to overturn a decision to declare him a bankrupt in Ireland.

The Carlow born builder (59) has already been adjudicated a bankrupt in America.

He claims he has not lived in Ireland since January 2007, living in Paris, Geneva and London before settling in the United States.

Last month the High Court began hearing a legal action by Mr Dunne who wants to overturn a court decision to declare him a bankrupt in Ireland.

But today (FRI) in a 40 page ruling, High Court judge Mr Justice Brian McGovern ruled that the bankruptcy could not be set aside.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern  previously heard that Mr Dunne, who was adjudicated a bankrupt in Ireland on July 29 last, opposed the bankruptcy on three principal grounds.

Mr Dunne, who was not present in court on July 29 when the bankruptcy order was made, is already a bankrupt in the United States of America.

Last July's declaration of bankruptcy here formed part of parallel applications to have Mr Dunne adjudicated a bankrupt in both America and Ireland.

Mr Dunne, now living in the US, had filed for bankruptcy in Massachusetts.

He claims to have debts of some €1bn and assets of€55m.

Following an application by Ulster Bank, supported by the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA), the US court appointed trustee managing Mr Dunne's US bankruptcy ruled parallel proceedings would benefit Mr Dunne's creditors as the vast majority of his properties are in Ireland.

Ulster Bank opposed the bid by Mr Dunne to overturn the Irish bankruptcy order.

Judge McGovern heard that there are no assets available to the Official Assignee, a court official who manages the estate of bankrupts in Ireland, because Mr Dunne is already a bankrupt in the US.

Last month Senior Counsel Bill Shipsey, for Mr Dunne, said that when Mr Dunne was made bankrupt in the US last March, an automatic worldwide stay was placed on in all proceedings taken against him.

Mr Shipsey said Mr Dunne is and was living in the US from August 2010.

The High Court heard that prior to August 2010, Mr Dunne, his wife and family been living first in Paris - and then Geneva and London - and were not domiciled in Ireland since January 2007.

Mr Shipsey  said that Mr Dunne does not have a residence "within the ordinary meaning of residence"  in Ireland for at least three years.

Mr Dunne had not, in the three year period prior to adjudication been carrying on business for profit or gain, said Mr Shipsey who also questioned whether Mr Dunne was validly served with a bankruptcy petition on February 12, 2013.

The court heard that he intends to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Dearbhail McDonald, Legal Editor

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News