Wednesday 22 November 2017

Killilea lodges appeal in US over efforts to sue her for millions

Sean Dunne’s wife, Gayle Killilea (Douglas Healey)
Sean Dunne’s wife, Gayle Killilea (Douglas Healey)

The wife of bust property developer Sean Dunne has lodged an appeal against a US court ruling which paved the way for bankruptcy officials to sue her for the return of up to €100m in assets transferred to her by her husband.

Gayle Killilea filed the appeal with the US District Court in Connecticut, aiming to overturn a decision last year which has left her open to lawsuits in Ireland, the US and South Africa.

It is the latest development in a battle over whether Ms Killilea was lawfully given tens of millions of euro in cash and property assets by her husband.

Last November, bankruptcy judge Alan Shiff issued a decision which meant lawsuits against Ms Killilea could not be impeded by an automatic injunction blocking creditors from suing her husband over his debts.

The former newspaper gossip columnist is being sued by a US bankruptcy official and an Irish Insolvency Service official.

Both are seeking to "set aside alleged fraudulent transfers" made by Mr Dunne to her.


The alleged transfers at the centre of the dispute include the €14m proceeds from the sale of Walford, on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road, to an offshore company in 2013. It is claimed Ms Killilea received all of the proceeds of the sale.

The officials are also seeking to recover property Ms Killilea or companies controlled by her acquired with the proceeds of alleged fraudulent transfers.

In court papers seen by the The Herald, Ms Killilea's lawyers vehemently denied the transfers were fraudulent. A central plank of her appeal is a claim the bankruptcy court "erroneously determined" she "lacked standing" to oppose motions by US bankruptcy trustee Richard Coan.

In recent years Ms Killilea has reinvented herself as a property developer, with building projects in the millionaire's enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut and also Manhattan.

The couple has faced allegations, which they deny, that Ms Killilea is using funds from her husband to carry on his business.

Mr Dunne claims he is merely an employee of companies controlled by his wife.

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