Saturday 18 November 2017

Lenders may have to chase the former 'Baron of Ballsbridge' across Atlantic

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

YESTERDAY'S decision, ordering Sean Dunne to pay banks €164m, is a small victory for the lenders.

But all it really does is give them a place in a queue of creditors already seeking to be repaid by the one time Baron of Ballsbridge.

NAMA is already well established in the same queue and it slipped in ahead of Ulster Bank two months ago when the courts handed Mr Dunne an even bigger order to pay €184m to the bad bank, for a different set of loans.

It's all huge money -- a whopping €350m in fact, but in reality lenders have little chance of ever seeing the bulk of it.

Mr Dunne was a creature of the boom. His most prized Irish trophy assets have already been seized by lenders -- including the former Jury's and Berkeley Court hotels at the heart of yesterday's case. Receivers also already control Hume House just across the road from the hotels as well as a string of Dublin apartments and properties.

The judgment orders give lenders the legal ammunition to try to register claims over any of Mr Dunne's assets that have not been seized, or that don't already have a mortgage.

The back-drop to all of that work is that fact the Mr Dunne is now living in the US, in the state of Connecticut, where bankruptcy rules could allow him to emerge with his debts wiped out within a year.

Sean Dunne is not a bankrupt -- but if he opted to file for bankruptcy in the US his Irish lenders will end up forced to chase their debts across the Atlantic after all.

Irish Independent

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