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Swiss case 'used in bid to protect assets'

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Richard Coan, the official handling Sean Dunne’s US bankruptcy

Richard Coan, the official handling Sean Dunne’s US bankruptcy

Douglas Healey

Richard Coan, the official handling Sean Dunne’s US bankruptcy

A SWISS court case, where Sean Dunne was successfully sued by his wife for $44m (€40.5m), was used as a mechanism to protect assets from creditors, a bankruptcy official has alleged.

Richard Coan, the official handling Mr Dunne's US bankruptcy, said the developer consented to a judgment for the sum in June 2010.

When he filed for bankruptcy in March 2013, Mr Dunne said he owed $44m to a person, known as 'Creditor A', arising from an in-camera court judgment.

Mr Dunne later revealed this was his wife, Gayle Killilea, and claimed she had sued him for the money after he failed to fully honour a 2005 agreement to give her €100m in exchange for her "love and affection".

The couple had lived in Geneva for two years before moving to Connecticut in 2010.

Mr Coan has now alleged the case was used as a way for Mr Dunne to give his wife money and keep it out of the reach of circling creditors.

"Upon information and belief, Dunne's objective in consenting to the Swiss judgment was to obtain a sealed judicial order through which he could nominally transfer assets to his wife, protect those assets from his creditors, while Dunne continued to enjoy control over and the benefit of those assets," the trustee alleged in a legal filing.

Mr Coan said that when Mr Dunne was quizzed about this at a creditors meeting, he could not recall how the amount owing to his wife was calculated.

Mr Dunne has claimed he gave his wife "a couple of hundred thousand" euro after the Swiss judgment, but that he still owed her the rest.

Separately, Mr Coan has alleged money from a Credit Suisse account set up by Mr Dunne was used to pay the lease of a multi-million dollar property where he and his wife lived for a period after moving to the US. The account was in the name of building firm Mountbrook USA.

The trustee said expenses for the couple's butler, who was brought over from Ireland, were also paid through the company.

Mr Coan also alleged $500,000 (€461,000) was transferred from Mr Dunne's Credit Suisse bank account to an account with the same bank "nominally owned by Killilea" on November 16, 2010.

Irish Independent