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Richard O'Halloran appears in Chinese court as timeline over his case remains 'uncertain'

Richard O’Halloran has been prevented from leaving China since February 2019.

RICHARD O’HALLORAN IS to appear in a Shanghai court Friday following a prolonged period without any progress in the Dublin businessman’s two-and-a-half-year struggle to return to Ireland.

The father-of-four has been prevented from leaving China since February 2019 when he travelled to Shanghai to resolve an ongoing commercial and legal issue involving the Chinese owner of the firm he works for, Dublin-based aircraft leasing company China International Aviation Leasing Service (CALS Ireland).

There are no allegations of wrongdoing against O’Halloran, but Chinese authorities have refused to let him leave the country while a financial and legal solution is worked out.

According to a source close to the matter, there have been no “material updates” on O’Halloran’s status since May. Ahead of today’s meeting, they’re “optimistic but still unsure of the timeline”.

A Shanghai court previously convicted Min Jiedong, the founder of CALS’s Chinese parent company, over alleged fundraising fraud last year. Min is believed to have used capital from the crowdfunding scheme to purchase an Airbus which is currently leased to Finnair.

Looking for the return of the funds raised by Min, Chinese authorities reportedly asked for either $36 million from CALS or the aircraft that was purchased with the funds.

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Not in a position to do either, O’Halloran, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and CALS Ireland put forward a proposal that would see income from the Finnair plane paid to authorities in China on a monthly basis.

“They basically have everything they need and everything they’ve asked for,” a source close to the case said of the documents submitted to the court. It’s understood that the technicalities around how funds will be repatriated are slowing down proceedings.

It’s also understood that there has been ongoing engagement on a localised basis in Shanghai between Richard and the court while the documentation is under review.

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Adam Daly

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