Sean Dunne ordered to pay €7,000 a month to bankruptcy trustee

Sean Dunne ordered to pay €7,000 a month to bankruptcy trustee

By Ann O'Loughlin

Sean Dunne must pay €7,000 monthly to his Irish bankruptcy trustee to increase the assets available for his creditors, the High Court has ruled.

From limited information available to official assignee Chris Lehane, including credit card statements, it appears Mr Dunne's normal personal expenses are being paid other than from Mr Dunne's salary of US$120,000 from his employer Mountbrook USA and €12,000 per year from another company, Amrakbo, Ms Justice Caroline Costello said.

Mr Dunne had said in sworn statements to the court his income is fully expended on legal expenses and he is "not in a position yet to contribute towards the cost of looking after my family".

Mr Lehane has been unable properly to assess Mr Dunne's income and assets for the purpose of assessing his ability to make payments for his creditors' benefit, or the appropriate level of such payments, the judge said.

Mr Lehane was also unable to establish what, if any, reasonable living expense are discharged by Mr Dunne relating to his own expenses and those of his dependants.

While the court was required to have regard to his reasonable living expenses, it has no evidence as to what these are and Mr Dunne had in effect stated they "are zero", she said.

On the other hand, evidence was provided of what might be described as "lavish or luxury" expenditure by Mr Dunne, although those may be discharged by his wife or his employer Mountbrook USA, a company controlled by his wife.

The expenses included hotels, restaurants and travel expenses in Ireland, England, South Africa and the US some of which might be paid by an employer, she said.

They also included "expensive items of personal clothing one would normally expect to pay for personally".

She was satisfied she had jurisdiction to make a bankruptcy payment order and rejected Mr Dunne's arguments otherwise.

She was making the order on the basis the information before the court is "limited and incomplete".

This was because Mr Dunne had failed to provide the necessary information and, if either side could provide further information, the payment order may be increased or reduced, she said.

In particular, she had no information about the tax liability which may attach to the salary paid to Mr Dunne from Mountbrook USA, she noted.

Pending further order, she directed Mr Dunne to pay €7,000 monthly, beginning from September 25th 2018 and ending on May 25th 2021.

Mr Dunne has said he intends to appeal the judge's decision.

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