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Solicitor settles multi-million euro lawsuit with developers

A multi-million euro lawsuit involving a top Dublin solicitor and former legal advisor of Charlie Haughey, Ivor Fitzpatrick, on one side and a major development company, whose directors include the former husband of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, and tv personality Mike Murphy, has been settled in the High Court.

Ivor Fitzpatrick sued Harcourt Developments, headed by Donegal-born Pat Doherty, whose fellow director is Andrew Parker Bowles, over a proposed €400m development in Jersey.

The development caused political controversy on the highly-conservative island tax haven when British newspapers publicised the fact that Harcourt Developments was formerly chaired by republican businessman Phil Flynn. Flynn resigned from the company in 2005 and from his position as chairman of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) after it emerged he was questioned by Gardai in the wake of the IRA's robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast.

The case against Harcourt was initially taken in Jersey's capital, St Helier, earlier this year but moved to the High Court in Dublin last month. It ended with an agreed settlement on Thursday after almost three weeks of cross-examination of Mr Fitzpatrick by counsel for Harcourt, and former PD Minister for Justice Michael McDowell.

The settlement was not disclosed but a spokesman for Harcourt confirmed the case had been settled and said: "Mr Fitzpatrick requested a confidentiality clause and we respected that."

Mr Fitzpatrick, who lives at Castle Howard in Co Wicklow, heads a highly- successful but low-profile legal practice in Dublin with offices on the corner of St Stephen's Green opposite the Shelbourne Hotel.

Since representing Charlie Haughey during the tribunal investigations into his finances, Mr Fitzpatrick has gone on to become involved in a series of major property deals, including the seafront redevelopment in St Helier with Harcourt. He has also been before the commercial division of the High Court in recent times in respect of another former business partnership with developer Paddy McKillen over an investment in Vietnam.

The case over the Jersey development involved a claim by Mr Fitzpatrick that he was instrumental in Harcourt Developments obtaining agreement for the €418m "Esplanade" development deal two years ago but that he had since been excluded from the project.

He was seeking High Court permission for a receiver to be appointed over the various assets of the company and for the winding up of various partnerships. The legal costs ran into millions.

Mr Parker Bowles did not appear in either the Dublin or St Helier hearings, where both sides were represented by ranks of top lawyers.

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