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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 13 December, 2019

Official tells court that Sean Dunne is owner of €58 million Dublin 4 property

Dunne denies being the owner of the property and says it was bought in trust for his wife.

Sean Dunne arrives at the Four Courts earlier this week.
Sean Dunne arrives at the Four Courts earlier this week.
Image: Leah Farrell/

THE OFFICIAL ADMINISTERING Sean Dunne’s Irish bankruptcy has told the High Court he believes bankrupt businessman is the beneficial owner of the Dublin 4 property known as Walford which was purchased in July 2005 for €58 million.

Dunne denies being the owner of the property and says it was bought in trust for his wife Gayle Dunne.

At the High Court today the official assignee in bankruptcy Chris Lehane said he does not accept claims the property, located on Shrewsbury Road, was owned by Gayle Dunne.

Issues concerning the ownership of Walford are the subject of separate proceedings pending before the courts.

Mr Lehane was giving evidence on the third day of an application to extend Mr Dunne’s bankruptcy on grounds he has failed to co-operate with the process after being adjudicated bankrupt in 2013.

The businessman denies not cooperating with the OA and opposes the application to extend his bankruptcy.


Under cross-examination on sworn statements the OA has provided in support of the extension application by Barra McGrory QC for Mr Dunne Mr Lehane said that he never expected the application to extend Mr Dunne’s bankruptcy would last as long as it has.

Mr Lehane rejected assertions from counsel that he had not acted in an independent with an open mind when conducting interviews with third parties in relation to the Walford property.

Mr Lehane also rejected that those questions were put in a certain way in order during interviews to get answers that confirmed his suspicions about the ownership of Walford.

Mr Lehane accepted he should not have told a tax advisor to Mr Dunne, Mr Colm Rogers, that a solicitor acting for Mr Dunne in relation to Walford had told the OA that Mr Dunne had been given legal advice in 2005 that Walford could not be purchased in trust.

In reply Lehane accepted the solicitor, Mr Patrick Sweetman who was also interviewed by the OA’s office in relation to Walford, did not say in the interview that he had given Mr Dunne that particular legal advice concerning the property.

Lehane said “I should not have done it, I was wrong and I apologise”, however, he added that what was put to Mr Rogers during the interview about the legal advice was factually correct.

Confirmation that the legal advice in question was given to Mr Dunne by Mr Sweetman was contained in a file held by the solicitor’s firm MOPs, Mr Lehane said.

Dunne’s Irish bankruptcy was due to expire July 2016 but has been extended pending the outcome of the full hearing concerning whether any extension, which can be for a maximum five years, should be granted.

Ulster Bank petitioned the High Court in February 2013 to have Mr Dunne adjudicated bankrupt here by default on some €164m loans.

The following month, Mr Dunne filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut, US, when he claimed to have debts of $1bn and assets of $55m.

In 2016 Mr Lehane initiated the bankruptcy extension application due to Mr Dunne’s alleged non-cooperation,

The application, which is before Ms Justice Caroline Costello, continues.

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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