‘I should have cashed up in 2007’, says former Baron of Ballsbridge

Sean Dunne in Connecticut. Picture: John Riordan

Seán Dunne expressed regret yesterday that he did not cash in his huge fortune in 2007 after his wife suggested that he sell all his holdings.

Mr Dunne also revealed he was urged more recently by the son of former Irish Nationwide boss Michael Fingleton to get back to making the “big deals” that dominated his high profile rise as a property developer.

The so-called Baron of Ballsbridge — who has re-launched his career in the US as an employee of his spouse of nine years Gayle Killilea — was back for the second day in a row at the latest instalment of his meeting with US creditors in the federal offices of a US bankruptcy trustee.

Mr Dunne entered into a bankruptcy process in Connecticut in late March, a move which is being challenged by Nama and Ulster Bank.

During yet another tense exchange with Nama lawyer Tom Curran, Mr Dunne spent almost a full day going through the timeline of some of his property dealings in Ireland and South Africa as well as the purchase of an apartment in Switzerland.

With Mr Curran trying to piece together why the couple chose Geneva as their home after nine- month stints in Paris and London, Mr Dunne revealed that Ms Killilea had almost convinced him to retire during the summer of 2007.

“Gayle wanted me to sell everything,” he said before adding: “I should have cashed up, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. We discussed it… well, joked with my older children. They couldn’t believe that Gayle could get me to retire.

“She wanted me to retire, for us to have a bit of an adventure. There’s a 20-year age gap between us. We moved to Paris in 2007. Things were going well. We were experiencing a new city. My wife was keen to travel. She wanted to open up opportunities for our children, to learn new languages and experience new cultures.”

The combative nature of the back-and-forth between Mr Dunne and Mr Curran picked up where it left off on Thursday with the former property developer accusing the Nama lawyer of “twisting and turning” Mr Dunne’s testimony under oath.

After lunch, there was a prolonged discussion about a deal worked on between Michael Fingleton Jr and Ms Killilea’s Mountbrook USA outfit during the purchase of a property in London.

Mr Dunne said he was not being paid a salary by his wife’s firm, but worked as an agent on the multi-million pound project, an Isle of Man firm Kulio, paying Mountbrook £175,000 for his advisory role.


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