Judgement has been granted in favour of seven people who invested almost €13m with a businessman who misappropriated the funds in an alleged ‘Pyramid’ scheme.
Granting judgement, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the investors appeared to have been the victims of a ‘confidence trick’ by Breifne O'Brien, and the Judge directed that the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation be given details of the court proceedings.
A barrister for Breifne O'Brien said his client was not consenting to the judgement in favour of the seven investors, nor was he objecting.
Up until today an injunction was in place requiring Breifne O'Brien not to reduce his assets below €20m, pending the outcome of the court case.
After granting judgement today for almost €13m for the plaintiffs, Mr Justice Kelly said he was factoring in €1.5m for possible costs, so he granted a new injunction requiring Breifne O’Brien not to reduce his assets below €14.5m.
The judge noted that there were five other possible creditors who had not brought court proceedings.
If they were contemplating bringing court proceedings ‘they would have to move with speed’ said the judge.
Once the judgement was granted today, a solicitor for Breifne O'Brien's wife Fiona Nagle said his client wished to make an application to vary the injunction order to get access to funds of over €4,000 per week for household expenses, but wanted the case heard in-camera.
Mr Justice Kelly denied the application and directed that the proceedings should be held in public.
Ms Nagle's solicitor said in that case he was instructed to withdraw the application.
The court previously heard that Mr O'Brien, of Invergarry, Silchester Road, Glenageary in south Dublin has calculated his total liabilities to 11 people of between €16m and €19m.
The case first came before the High Court on 15 December 2008 when a solicitor for a number of investors sought an order freezing Mr O'Brien's assets.
In an affidavit opened in court last month, solicitor Brian Quigley of McCann Fitzgerald said Mr O'Brien had told him he had been 'living a lie' for up to 15 years in relation to investments made for others, including long-time friends.
Today, Mr Justice Kelly said he had certain sympathy for the people who had come to court looking to get their money back from Breifne O'Brien.
The judge said the investors were apparently the victims of a ‘confidence trick’, which was not particularly sophisticated.
The total monies granted in judgement to the seven investors amounts to €12,883,619.
The seven investors with Breifne O'Brien who obtained a judgment in their favour today are:
Daniel Maher, a businessman of Kiltiernan Pines, Westminster Road, Foxrock, who obtained a judgement for €450,000.
Louis Dowley, a farmer, of Tybroughey, Carrick on Suir, Co Tipperary and his brother and business partner, Robert Dowley, also a farmer, of Three Bridges House, Carrick on Suir, who obtained a judgement for €3,065,350.
David O'Reilly, a businessman of Fassaroe House, Fassaroe Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, who obtained a judgement of €2,260,739.
Evan Newell, of Brighton Gardens, Rathgar, Dublin, who obtained a judgement for €4.4m.
88-year-old David Bell and his son Peter, of Silver Birches, Dublin, who obtained a judgement for €1,107,530.
Breifne O'Brien had calculated his assets to be almost 36 million Euro, but a barrister for the plaintiffs said his reading of the assets and liabilities held by Breifne O'Brien would put his assets closer to €21m.
The €12,883,619 granted in judgement against Breifne O'Brien will be subject to interest from today.