Long running legal saga over film production company resolved

Long running legal saga over film production company resolved
Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha in 'Vikings'. The film company Octagon was claimed to be involved in its production in Ireland. Picture: File Image

The long running legal saga between a German film company and two well known Irish film producers over the running of a film production company has been resolved.

The claim by Berlin-based W2 Filmproduktion Vertriebs GmbH was against producers Morgan O'Sullivan and James Flynn who it was alleged diverted funds out of Octagon Films Ltd, a company In which they had all been shareholders.

The German company alleged sums of between €40m and €50m were diverted out of the company.

Both the defendants, who are directors in Octagon, had strongly denied the allegations.

The action, which first came before the court in 2016, returned before Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington on Monday, when the judge was informed that the case had been resolved after the sides had entered into a mediation.

Edward Farrelly, counsel for the German company, said that it had been agreed between the parties that the defendants had as part of the settlement agreed to purchase his client's shares in Octagon.

Under the agreement, the shares in the film production company are to purchased by certain dates, counsel added.

Counsel for the two producers Bernard Dunleavy, appearing with Eamon Marray, said his side were consenting to the settlement.

Under the agreement, counsel said his clients will retain control over Octagon, and the entire proceedings can now be struck out on consent.

No other details of the settlement, which are understood to be confidential, were revealed in open court.

Ms Justice Pilkington welcomed the resolution of what a "a very difficult and complex matter" that had been before the courts on many occasions dating back to 2016.

Long running legal saga over film production company resolved
Tom Vaughan Lawlor from crime drama 'Love/Hate'. Picture: Bernard Walsh/RTE/PA
Octagon, it was claimed, had been involved in dozens of TV and movie productions shot in Ireland.

These include Vikings, The Tudors, Penny Dreadful, The Borgias, Love Hate, Swag, Skippy Dies, Calvary, Ondine, PS I Love You, and many more.

The company was also linked to 'Vikings Valhalla', a spin off from the 'Vikings', much of which was filmed in Ireland, which is being made by MGM Television for Netflix.

W2 had sued the producers on behalf of Octagon by way of a derivative action which is a claim brought by a shareholder on behalf of a corporation against another party.

W2, which invests in international film productions, claimed it acquired 49% of Octoagon's shares in 2002.

It, W2, sought damages for alleged breach of duty, alleged fraud, and alleged conspiracy against the producers.

The producers denied allegedly diverting any fees, income or opportunities that were allegedly due to Octagon to themselves or to any corporate entities controlled by them.

Mr O'Sullivan, of Ardmore Park, Bray, Co Wicklow, and Mr Flynn, of Ballyedmonduff Road, Stepaside, Dublin, who between them own 51% of Octagon's shares, denied they traded as Octagon or had used the company's name and reputation.

They claimed Octagon was set up as a company devoted to film development and production activity and is a separate entity to their work for hire film production services they have been associated with.

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