Developer Sean Dunne declared bankrupt in Irish High Court

Monday 29 July 2013 22.31
Sean Dunne had filed for bankruptcy in the US earlier this year
Sean Dunne had filed for bankruptcy in the US earlier this year

Developer Sean Dunne has been adjudicated bankrupt by the High Court in Dublin.

Ulster Bank, which secured a €163m judgment against him last year was supported by the National Asset Management Agency in its application for the case to proceed in his absence today.

Mr Dunne was not represented in court.

Lawyers for Ulster Bank told the court they were satisfied Mr Dunne was fully aware of the proceedings and had done everything he could to thwart them.

Lyndon McCann said there had been some correspondence from Mr Dunne's US lawyers over the weekend suggesting he had not been given sufficient notice of the hearing.

Mr McCann said there was an urgency to the case because of what he described as "voluntary" and "gratuitous" dispositions in favour of Sean Dunne's wife in the past five years.

Such dispositions could be void unless the debtor was solvent at the time.

There was a "critical urgency" that the petition be dealt with, he said.

He added: "He has done everything he can to thwart proceedings by way of the US proceedings. There has been ample time for him to come in and seek to adjourn the proceedings."

Mr McCann said that "this was not like a debtor knowing nothing of bankruptcy proceedings being served with notice. He has known about this process for many many months."

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said there was no doubt at this stage he had been duly served with notice of the hearing.

She said it would not have come as any surprise as it had been flagged for some time. There was material before the court to show he had always been aware of the proceedings, the judge said.

Mr McCann told the court notice of the case had been served again at Mr Dunne's home in Connecticut in the past week.

His wife had refused to accept service and said he would be away for some weeks.

A US marshall had pinned the notice to his door.

The marshall has described speaking to "a blonde lady with an Irish accent" who was driving an SUV out of the driveway as he approached.

Mr McCann said Mrs Dunne's explanation that her husband would be away for some weeks "was difficult to reconcile" with correspondence from Mr Dunne's attorney about contact with him.

He said the petition should proceed today.

Mr Dunne had filed for bankruptcy in the US but a court there ruled dual bankruptcy proceedings could take place in both jurisdictions.

A court appointed official assignee will now liaise with the US authorities over the what is to happen with Mr Dunne's assets.

It is now open to Mr Dunne to challenge the decision.