SETBACK FOR SEAN DUNNE IN CONNECTICUT BANKRUPTCY CASE - Bankrupt developer Seán Dunne has suffered a setback in the US courts after being ordered by a judge to attend court, answer questions and provide all information requested by the trustee managing his case in Connecticut, writes the Irish Times. In an order issued yesterday, bankruptcy judge Alan Shiff said Mr Dunne must "completely answer all questions posted by the trustee and turn over all documents requested by the trustee without limitation or qualification". The trustee, Richard Coan, had also asked the bankruptcy court to hold Mr Dunne in contempt, but the judge has deferred ruling on that for now. Mr Coan said in a court filing in July that the developer "stymies and obstructs the investigation into his financial affairs by picking and choosing which questions he will answer". The lawyer said Mr Dunne was alleged to have transferred assets worth tens of millions of dollars to his wife, Gayle Killilea, in an effort to "hinder, delay and defraud" his creditors. Mr Dunne's lawyers had directed that he should not answer the trustee's questions because Nama had filed a complaint seeking to block his discharge from bankruptcy in the US, thus compromising his rights. Mr Coan had argued that this did not provide grounds for avoiding questions and, yesterday, Judge Schiff agreed with him.
PENSIONS BOARD IS 'NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE' SAYS ICTU - The top union body in the country has delivered a blistering attack on the pensions regulator. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said the Pensions Board was not fit for purpose and had failed to protect workers' pensions, the Irish Independent has learnt. Head of pension policy at ICTU Fergus Whelan accused the board of disregarding the views of workers, many of whom have lost their pension benefits. Mr Whelan questioned the actions of the Pensions Board in regulating defined benefit schemes. Large numbers of these schemes in the private sector have had to be restructured, with members losing pension benefits they had been expecting. About a quarter of defined benefit schemes are expected to have wound up by the end of the year. Mr Whelan said in a letter to the Pensions Board that workers had been let down.
VAMP TALE DOUBLES JORDAN'S PROFITS - A blockbuster movie following the many lives of a mother and daughter vampire duo last year contributed to profits more than doubling at director Neil Jordan’s firm to €1.8m. Jordan’s Byzantium - made last year and released in May of this year - stars Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. The Irish Examiner says that new figures lodged with the Companies Office show that accumulated profits at Jordan’s Sunwind Enterprises Ltd increased by 106% from €909,515 to €1.879m in the 12 months to the end of December 31 last. The figures show that the firm’s cash during the year almost doubled from €1.23m to €2.397m. Jordan’s coffers were also boosted by him overseeing the historical fiction drama, The Borgias. Jordan shot three series of the drama, starring Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, focusing on the fortunes of the 16th century Italian family.
FRANCE TARGETS AMAZON TO PROTECT BOOKSHOPS - France’s parliament has passed a law preventing internet booksellers from offering free delivery to customers, in an attempt to protect the country’s struggling bookshops from the growing dominance of US online retailer Amazon, says the Financial Times. On Thursday, Aurélie Filippetti, the culture minister who originally proposed the move, denounced Amazon for its alleged “strategy of dumping”, claiming that the company used offers of free delivery to get around French laws controlling the price of books. Speaking during a debate in the National Assembly, she said: “Once they are in a dominant position and have wiped out our network of bookshops, it is a strong bet that they will raise their delivery charges.” The new law, which will now go for ratification by the Senate, is the latest move by France against US internet companies, which it believes are unfairly using their market power to overwhelm local competition. The socialist government of President François Hollande is lobbying the EU to regulate online platforms and applications and is pushing for international agreement on taxing internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon in the countries where customers use their websites.