26 Sept 2022

Carlow man ordered to provide bankruptcy official with his home address

Carlow man ordered to provide bankruptcy official with his home address

Carlow's Sean Dunne ordered to provide bankruptcy official with his home address

Carlow developer and businessman Sean Dunne has been ordered by the High Court to provide his current home address to lawyers representing the official in charge of his bankruptcy. 

The orders was granted by Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington, who said Mr. Dunne has until 1pm this Friday (March 13), to furnish those details to the representatives of the official assignee Mr. Chris Lehane.

The order was sought by Mr. Lehane's lawyers arising out of an allegation that the County Carlow born developer is not complying with a court order to pay €7,000 monthly to increase the assets available for his creditors.

That order was made by Ms. Justice Caroline Costello in 2018, after the judge extended Mr. Dunne's bankruptcy, who directed that he make payments of €7,000 monthly, starting from September 25, 2018, and ending on May 25, 2021.

As a result of Mr. Dunne's alleged failure to comply with the 2018 order, Mr. Lehane has brought a motion requiring that Mr. Dunne come before the court to answer his alleged contempt.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Ms. Justice Teresa Pilkington at the High Court on Thursday. 

Edward Farrelly SC for the official assignee told the court issues had arisen over the provision of Mr. Dunne's home address to his client. 

Counsel said an undertaking had been given by Mr. Dunne's former lawyers, who earlier this week had ceased representing Mr. Dunne, to provide the home address to the official assignee, but this had not occurred.

Counsel said that under the 1988 Bnakruptcy Act a bankrupt must provide their home address or current to the official assignee. Any failure to comply could result in a second motion for attachment and committal being brought against Mr. Dunne, counsel said.

The official assignee had an email address for Mr. Dunne which counsel said was working, as he had replied to correspondence sent to him by the official assignee. 

Counsel said that in an email it appeared that Mr. Dunne intended to challenge the court's jurisdiction to consider the motion to attach and commit the businessman. The only other address they had for Mr. Dunne was a postal address of a used car business in Berkshire in England. 

A solicitor with OBH Partners, who had previously represented Mr. Dunne in his Irish bankruptcy proceedings, told the court they could not comply with an undertaking previously provided to the court to give the official assignee Mr. Dunne's home address. This was because he had not consented to it being furnished to the official assignee.

The solicitor said that Mr. Dunne, who was not present in court on Thursday, had concerns about his family's privacy, asked the court if it would accept an email from their former client.

However, Ms. Justice Pilkington, acknowledging the "rock and the hard place" situation OBH found itself in, but refused to accept or hear any details contained in the email.

If Mr. Dunne wanted he could swear an affidavit to the court himself, the judge said.

Mr. Farrelly told the court that if Mr. Dunne's home address was furnished to the solicitors acting for the official assignee, it would not be placed on the public file in the Examiner's Office.

The judge agreed to adjourn the matter to a date later this month.

The contempt proceedings are the latest in what has been a long running battle between Mr. Dunne and bankruptcy officials in both Ireland and the United States.

Mr. Dunne was adjudicated bankrupt in 2013 on foot of an application by Ulster Bank after he had defaulted on some €164 million loans.

That same year Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut in the United States when he claimed to have debts of $1 billion and assets of $55 millions, and a US bankruptcy trustee was appointed by a US court.

Mr. Dunne was due to exit his Irish bankruptcy in 2016.

However, in 2018 the High Court extended Mr. Dunne's bankruptcy by 12 years after a judge deemed that he had not co-operated with the official assignee.

Mr. Dunne opposed the proposed extension.

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