US attorney faces jail over €169k owed

A US attorney has been given until next Tuesday by the High Court to come up with €169,000 he admits he owes a businessman or face possibly being sent to prison.

Lawrence O’Neill, who lives in Dublin and is an attorney in the US, told the court he hopes to have the money for Adriano Fusco, from Johnstown, Co Kildare, over the next few days but has also asked that he be given until December 29 to do so.

Mr O’Neill appeared in person after Mr Justice Tony O’Connor last week ordered he be brought before the court to explain why he should not be committed to prison for contempt of an earlier court order to pay the money.

The case arose after Mr O’Neill agreed to hold €325,000 from the sale of a business Mr Fusco and his brother Fabio had been involved in. While some of it was paid, around €169,000 was not and Mr O’Neill said it was being held in his New York account.

Despite repeated promises to transfer it to Mr Fusco by Mr O’Neill, who is married with three children and lives in Gilford Road, Sandymount, it never arrived in Mr Fusco’s account.

Mr O’Neill told the court yesterday, he mistakenly instructed that the money, held in his New York account and supervised by the New York Bar Association, be sent to a client in Dubai.

He was waiting for the money to be returned.

Mr O’Neill said he expected to have funds available to pay Mr Fusco when a separate transaction he was involved in closed Thursday.

Mr Justice O’Connor adjourned the case to Tuesday and said it was in his interest to ensure the money has been transferred by then.


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