Monday 23 October 2017

Vital ruling in Dunne case may come tomorrow

US court to hear motion to dismiss Nama action

Sean Dunne and his glamorous wife Gayle Killilea-Dunne
Sean Dunne and his glamorous wife Gayle Killilea-Dunne
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Nama's pursuit of former Baron of Ballsbridge Sean Dunne and his glamorous wife Gayle Killilea-Dunne through the courts of Connecticut could be over as soon as tomorrow with the judge in the case set to hear arguments on a motion being brought by Mr Dunne's lawyers to dismiss the matter.

While the State's so-called 'bad bank' continues to insist that Ms Killilea-Dunne acquired millions of dollars worth of properties in Greenwich, Connecticut, using money provided by her husband, lawyers for Mr Dunne will ask Judge Brassel Mazzaro to throw the case out on the grounds that the courts of Connecticut have no jurisdiction in the matter.

And while officials at the State's toxic loan agency will no doubt be anxiously awaiting the judge's ruling given the amount of time, energy and taxpayers' money they have spent so far in pursuit of the Carlow-born developer, Mr Dunne himself would appear to rather more relaxed about the whole affair.

Today, the man who once dreamt of bringing a piece of Knightsbridge to Ballsbridge will be in Dublin to support the Irish rugby team as they take on England in the Six Nations Championship.

Central to the case, Mr Dunne's legal team will argue in Connecticut tomorrow, is that neither he or his wife had any residence in or connection to either Connecticut or the United States at the time when Nama alleges he transferred a valuable property in the Swiss city of Geneva to her. The so-called "Geneva transfer" and the proceeds which Nama believes flowed from it form a central plank in the agency's claim that Ms Killilea-Dunne received millions of dollars from her husband to buy real estate in Connecticut, depriving them of monies he owes them in the process.

Judge Mazzaro will be told how at the time of the Geneva transaction which began in January 2009 and concluded in January 2010, Mr Dunne and Ms Killilea-Dunne were both residents of Switzerland.

The judge will also be told that the property at the heart of the ongoing dispute with Nama was acquired with monies borrowed from Credit Suisse (a Swiss bank), that it was documented by Swiss attorneys and that the transaction was governed then and now by Swiss law.

Lawyers for the Dunnes will also tell the court that far from delivering a major profit, the profit from the sale of the Geneva property came to just €11,460 once the mortgage on it had been paid.

Should the judge rule in Mr Dunne's favour, it would bring to an abrupt end – for now at least – Nama's pursuit of the developer through the courts of the US. Mr Dunne and his wife have, however, been busy preparing a vigorous defence in the event that tomorrow's decision goes against them.

The Sunday Independent understands that lawyers for Ms Killilea-Dunne will get to question her husband's former senior asset manager at Nama, Kevin Nowlan, this coming Friday, having successfully deposed him as a witness last December.

It is understood Ms Killilea-Dunne's legal team has been given permission to question Mr Nowlan for up to eight hours on his handling of her husband's business during his tenure at the State agency.

In an unrelated move, Mr Nowlan recently left Nama to return to work with his family's property management firm, WK Nowlan.

Irish Independent

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