herald

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Dunne wants to 'work into his 70s' in US

BANKRUPT developer Sean Dunne plans to remain in the US until his 70s and said he "cannot currently conceive" of any circumstances where he would return to Ireland.

Mr Dunne (59) hopes, following his discharge from US bankruptcy, to work in business in America as he considers it offers the best economic opportunities for his family.

He intends to stay indefinitely, "most likely for the remainder of my life". Of his children from two marriages, five live in the US and one in Ireland, he said in affidavits to a court.

Mr Dunne made the affidavits for proceedings in which he wants orders overturning a High Court decision granting Ulster Bank's petition, supported by NAMA, to have him adjudicated bankrupt here arising from default on €161m loans made for properties in Dublin.

Disputes

In opposing the application, Ulster Bank disputes Mr Dunne's claims he has abandoned Ireland in favour of the US and contends his statements fall well short of showing a clear intent not to return here.

It claims Mr Dunne had told the Irish media, after he filed for bankruptcy in the US, he intended to return to do business again in Ireland and he and his wife hoped to have their sons educated in secondary schools here. His mother, daughter and siblings still live in Ireland, the bank noted.

Ulster Bank also says Mr Dunne has business and property interests here and claims that is evidenced by factors including his ownership of an Irish credit card and cell phone.

It says he is also involved in a number of court actions here and retains joint ownership with his second wife, Gayle Killilea, of their former family home at Shrewsbury Road, Dublin.Dealing with those claims, Mr Dunne said he and Ms Killilea decided about 2006 they would not live in Ireland and, from 2007, lived in Paris, Geneva and London before moving to the US in 2010.

Business

They now live in Greenwich, Connecticut, with their three young children, he said.

He added the rental of his former family home to the South African embassy for about €200,000 a year up to 2014 cannot be taken as a business interest. That property is mortgaged to Bank of Scotland, secured on a €12m debt, and while once valued at €25m, he believes it is in negative equity.

He denied he regularly visited Ireland and said he had returned in the past couple of years only a small number of times for family reasons.

Yesterday, Bill Shipsey SC, for Mr Dunne, told Mr Justice Brian McGovern his client has no assets here that could be administered by the Irish Official Assignee who administers the estates of bankrupts.

The hearing continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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