Wednesday 21 February 2018

Are they divorced? Gayle to set record straight with US court but only in private

Sean Dunne and Gayle Killilea
Sean Dunne and Gayle Killilea
Gayle Killilea Dunne
Developer Sean Dunne and Gayle Killilea. Photo: Derek Spiers
Sean Dunne, pictured on New York’s Park Avenue. Photo: Neville Elder
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

SOCIALITE Gayle Killilea has agreed to provide a US court with details of family law proceedings she took against her husband, bust developer Sean Dunne – but only if she receives assurances the information will not be made public.

The offer came as the businessman faces questions over whether or not he is in fact divorced from Ms Killilea.

Richard Coan, the US court official overseeing Mr Dunne's bankruptcy, has queried whether or not the couple are still married after Ms Killilea took a case against him in a family court in Switzerland four years ago.

Mr Dunne has previously disclosed that Ms Killilea sued him over a $44m (€32.5m) debt but declined to go into further detail, citing Swiss court rules surrounding family cases.

However, in a letter from Mr Dunne's lawyers to Mr Coan, the property developer said he was willing to provide information "provided you keep it confidential and fully respect the in camera rule".

He also said Ms Killilea had consented to the release of the judgment in the Swiss case as long as she receives a written undertaking that it would not be made public.

The offer was outlined in an exhibit filed with a bankruptcy court in the US in recent days.

The couple resided in Geneva in 2010 before moving to Connecticut, where they still live.

Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in March last year with debts of $942m (€695m).

In the meantime, Ms Killilea has reinvented herself as a property developer in her own right and is working on a number of projects in the US.

Mr Coan is seeking access to documents related to "in camera" proceedings in Ireland and Switzerland, saying these records "may detail the transfer of tens of millions of euro" to "his wife or ex-wife Killilea Dunne".

The couple have yet to respond to the suggestion that they may no longer be married.

Carlow-born Dunne, once one of the country's highest-profile developers, has been coming under increasing pressure from Mr Coan in recent months to provide details of family law cases. It is unclear whether the offer made by Ms Killilea will be accepted by him.


Mr Coan said Irish law may restrict Mr Dunne from revealing matters protected by the "in camera" rule, but there was nothing to prevent him seeking to "loosen those restrictions".

He asked Mr Dunne to obtain permission from Ms Killilea and his first wife, Jennifer Coyle, for information from family law cases to be provided.

Despite the offer outlined in the court exhibit, the official accused Mr Dunne of using "sophisticated doctrines" to "cloak his activities".

The trustee also said the position of Ms Coyle on whether she would consent to the release of family law documents remains unknown.

A court hearing will take place next month on motions by Mr Coan to compel Mr Dunne to provide further information.

Mr Dunne's lawyers have denied there has been any failure by their client to cooperate.

Ms Killilea's legal team has objected to Mr Coan's motions on the basis they violate her privacy rights under both Irish and Swiss law.

Irish Independent

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