Thursday 23 November 2017

Sean Dunne's bankruptcy temporarily extended by High Court

Sean Dunne
Sean Dunne

Aodhan O'Faolain

The High Court has temporarily extended developer Sean Dunne's bankruptcy over alleged non-cooperation.

In 2013, Mr Dunne was adjudicated bankrupt arising from default on loans of some €164m issued to buy properties in Dublin.

The extension of his bankruptcy period was sought by the official in change of bankruptcy, official assignee Chris Lehane, for alleged non-cooperation.

The developer was due to exit bankruptcy at the end of the month, the court heard on Monday.

At a brief hearing, Ms Justice Caroline Costello granted the extension on an ex-parte basis, where only one side is represented, to counsel for Mr Lehane.

Solicitors acting for Mr Dunne had been informed of the official assignee's intention to seek an extension, counsel said.

The extension is to last until further order of the court. The case was adjourned to October.

Under bankruptcy laws, the official assignee can seek and order extending the period of bankruptcy for a maximum period of five years.

Ulster Bank had petitioned the High Court in February 2013 to have Mr Dunne adjudicated bankrupt here over default on loans of some €164m.

The following month, Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in the US state of Connecticut when he claimed to have debts of $1bn and assets of $55m.

In July 2013, he was adjudicated bankrupt in Ireland.

When the High Court refused an application by Mr Dunne in December 2013 to set aside that adjudication, he appealed to the Supreme Court.

Last year, a three judge Supreme Court rejected claims by the now US-based developer the bankruptcy declaration cannot stand on grounds including his having previously filed for bankruptcy in the US.

Irish bankruptcy laws, he argued, do not allow for a double or dual bankruptcy findings in different jurisdictions.

Ulster Bank and NAMA, Mr Dunne's largest creditor, opposed his appeal and argued the Irish adjudication should remain undisturbed.

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