Well-known French film star Dany Boon has secured formal High Court judgements against several entities he claims have defrauded him out of millions of euro.
On Friday, Mr Justice Brian O'Moore said he was satisfied to grant Mr Boon judgement in proceedings where Mr Boon seeks damages against Thierry Fialek-Birles, aka Terry Birles, aka Thierry Waterford-Mandeville, and companies linked to him for defrauding the well-known French celebrity of over €6m.
The applications for judgment, where he had previously secured temporary freezing and disclosures orders in attempts to ascertain where his monies have gone, were not contested.
Rossa Fanning SC for Mr Boon said that Mr Birles, and several of the corporate entities linked to him, had at one stage in the ongoing proceedings been represented by lawyers.
Ultimately most of the parties, including Mr Birles, had informed the court that they either did not wish to contest Mr Boon's claims against them, or never participated in the proceedings before the court. Counsel said that, in the circumstances, his client was seeking judgment against those entities.
Counsel asked the court to fix a hearing date later this month when the level of damages Mr Boon should receive can be quantified, and to appoint a receiver over assets linked to those defendants.
Counsel said that two other defendants allegedly linked to Mr Birles, Asia Monaco Investments Ltd with an address in Lusk, Co. Dublin, and Asia Monaco Sarl registered in the principality of Monaco, are contesting Mr Boon's claims against them.
Mr Justice O'Moore said that he was satisfied that all of the parties he was granting judgment against were aware of or had been served with the proceedings. They each had chosen either not to participate nor to attend the court.
Judgment was granted in favour of Mr Boon against South Sea Merchant's Mariners Ltd Partnership (SSMM), Hibernian Petroleum Limited Partnership, United Irish Estates Limited and Hibernian Yachts Company Limited which are all Irish-registered entities, and the Samoa-registered United Far East Oriental Holdings (Samoa) Ltd.
Judgment was also made against the US-registered American Sail & Motor Navigation Inc, Amalgamated Plantations Company Ltd, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, and Sail & Motor Navigation Company Limited in Antigua and Barbuda, who had never participated in the hearings.
The judge said the court would hear an application by lawyers for Asia Monaco Investments Ltd, and Asia Monaco Sarl, to lift various orders against those entities in the New Year.
Represented by David Kennedy SC, the court heard that not only were the two firms going to contest the full proceedings, but now intend to contest Boon's application to have temporary freezing orders on their assets remain in place. Mr Kennedy said that the two had recently changed legal teams, but following consultations with their clients in France, instructions have been given.
Mr Kennedy did not dispute Mr Fanning's contention that the two company's position regarding the continuation of the injunction was a "U-turn" and that the former legal team had previously told the court that the firms would not oppose the continuation of the freezing orders until the full hearing of the dispute has occurred.
Mr Fanning said that his client would be seeking "an explanation" for this change in course.
Mr Boon has obtained freezing and disclosure orders against Asia Monaco Investments and Asia Monaco Sarl. Counsel added that his client's solicitors are currently looking into documents, including financial information that had been furnished by Mr Kennedy's clients.
Mr Justice O'Moore adjourned the action against Mr Kennedy's clients, with the temporary orders previously granted to remain in place.
Last July, Belgium-based Mr Boon secured a High Court freezing order preventing Thierry Fialek-Birles and several corporate entitles he allegedly either controls or is the ultimate beneficial owner of from reducing their assets below a value of €6m as well as various disclosure orders.
He claims he is the victim of "a systemic and elaborate fraud with an international dimension" committed by Mr Birles.
Mr Boon says that last year he advanced monies to entities linked to Mr Birles, whom it is alleged had represented himself to be an "Irish Lord from an ancient family" and an expert lawyer in maritime law.
Mr Boon claims that, based on Mr Birles advice, he invested €4.5m of his money through SSMM in a scheme with the Irish Central Bank. He alleges Mr Birles told him it paid 3.25% annual interest that was tax free.
Mr Boon subsequently discovered that no such scheme exists and, despite making several requests, the funds have not been returned to him.
Mr Boon also claims that he advanced a further €2.2m, through SSMM, to cover the costs of running a yacht but does not yet know how much of that sum has been misappropriated.
In July, the judge granted Mr Boon a freezing or Mareva-type injunction restraining the defendants from reducing, moving or dissipating any of their assets, including a sailboat and a house in Cork below a value of €6m.
It is claimed Mr Birles, a French citizen aged in his 30s, committed the fraud by using a network of companies he had appeared to have established in Ireland and other jurisdictions and is somebody who goes by various aliases. Mr Birles had denied the allegations before he, and other defendants, discharged their lawyers and opted not to participate in the proceedings.