Letter writer threatened to slit solicitor’s throat

A solicitor being pursued for €75m by Bank of Ireland over unpaid loans has told the Commercial Court he and his wife received death threats last weekend which gardaí are taking seriously.

Brian O’Donnell said someone had written saying they wanted to cut his wife’s throat and his own.

Paul Gardiner SC, for the bank, said he was sorry to hear about the threats.

Mr O’Donnell also said “bad publicity” from proceedings brought against the couple by the bank was “not helpful” and was destroying the value of property assets even though the positions of the couple and the bank were “aligned”. The bank’s actions made no commercial sense and would guarantee the bank got “very little, if anything”.

He added he would be in court in London on Friday for his application for a stay on charging orders obtained by the bank which “caused havoc” in relation to a property at Westferry Circus. The stay was sought in the context of the couple having petitioned for bankruptcy in the UK, he said.

The examination of Mr O’Donnell about his assets is part of the bank’s efforts to recover €75m under judgment orders entered last December against him and his wife, Dr Mary Patricia O’Donnell, of Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney.

Asked yesterday about his income, Mr O’Donnell said his annual income was about £120,000 (€146,000) and derived from management services provided by him in relation to the Westferry Circus property.

Mr Gardiner put to him that he knew the difference between legal and beneficial ownership and knew what he was trying to achieve when drawing up trust documents under which beneficial ownership of several properties was transferred to his children.

Mr O’Donnell agreed he knew the difference between legal and beneficial ownership but added he was a retired lawyer.

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