Tuesday 16 January 2018

Dearbhail McDonald: Bust in two countries – but developer is still fighting

BANKRUPTCY is a painful process, no matter in which country you fall on that sword. The US and UK are perceived as more friendly homes for bankrupts, largely because of the shorter time periods for discharge and a general willingness by both states to see debtors get back on their feet. Ireland has moved to remove some of the shackles associated with bankruptcy, lessening the Dickensian discharge period from 12 to three years.

The ongoing bid by Sean Dunne to avoid bankruptcy in Ireland is fascinating. By his own admission, he owes €1bn and has assets of €55m. He was adjudicated a bankrupt in Ireland last July on foot of a February 2013 petition by Ulster Bank, owed €161m. Last June, Dunne stole Ulster Bank's thunder when he filed for bankruptcy in Massachusetts, triggering a transatlantic war of words.

The National Assets Management Agency (NAMA), which supports Ulster Bank's bid to bankrupt Mr Dunne in Ireland, has questioned the truth of Mr Dunne's version of events about his finances. The toxic loans agency claims he has fraudulently transferred assets to his wife Gayle Killilea-Dunne.

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