Archive for October 21st, 2012

Tomorrow at 9.30am EST, early afternoon here, in the Connecticut Superior Court, NAMA is set to challenge Sean Dunne about a series of transactions and their relevance to the €185m judgment the Agency obtained against the former “Baron of Ballsbridge” or “The Dunner” earlier this year. You can read the NAMA submissions here but it should be said that NAMA has been trying to force Sean’s wife – former journalist and presently, businesswoman and property developer, Gayle Dunne (nee Killilea) – to hand over documents. Gayle is not a NAMA borrower and has recently claimed not to have received any correspondence directly from NAMA. There has also been some recent press exposure favourable to the Dunnes with claims of NAMA leaking of confidential financial information – NAMA hasn’t commented, and of course NAMA wasn’t the only body in possession of Sean Dunne’s financial information.

At issue in the case is a series of three US property transactions plus one more in Switzerland where NAMA seems to be claiming shenanigans. In respect of two of the US transactions, I am still scratching my head at how successful the Dunnes were in developing two residential properties in an alien environment.

There is a background blogpost on the hearing here. The Irish Daily Mail has been the leading Irish press outlet to publicise the case. RTE might drag Richard Downes away from the US presidential campaign for the hearing, but I doubt it. Surely INM can afford a presence – after all there is money, property, some cha-cha-cha with the glamorous Gayle. Who knows, maybe someone from the NWL audience might be attending. There will be updates here.

(Graphic above produced by Japlandic.com, contact here)

UPDATE: 23rd October, 2012 (1). It seems the case is ongoing right now and that NAMA is trying to get a postponement until January 2013, and the Dunnes are objecting, which would make sense given the gravity of the charges and the apparent urgency exhibited in the July 2012 hearing. Also, we now have the transcript of the July 2012 hearing and it is pretty apparent why the judge refused NAMA’s application for an immediate freezing order – “there has to be something besides “upon information and belief”” said Judge Mintz before rejecting NAMA’s application for an immediate freezing order. Seems like NAMA is on the back foot with this one.

UPDATE: 23rd October, 2012 (2). Thanks to John Gallaher, here is the listing of the actions to date in this matter.

UPDATE: 23rd October 2012 (3). The comprehensive list of interactions from the start of October 2012 between NAMA and the Dunnes with the court, and the results leading up to today is here – there has been a lot going on with this case, pending its full hearing!

UPDATE: 24th October 2012. In the end it is the Irish Times and Niamh Sweeney to which we turn today for the overall outcome from yesterday’s hearing. NAMA has been granted extra time – which has not been specified – to prepare its case but NAMA did seem to score a hit with the concession yesterday by Gayle Dunne that documents relating to a sale of a property through Sotheby’s would be made available to NAMA – previously she had resisted the handing over of these documents. NAMA was represented by Philip D Russell and Sean Dunne was represented by Peter Nolin. The Dunnes are claiming NAMA’s actions amount to no more than a “fishing expedition” and that Gayle “has her own money” which was used to fund several US property dealings and developments. The case continues.


Read Full Post »

“It’s high time that we brought democracy and transparency to Europe – the fight’s not over yet” Deputy Thomas Pringle in July 2012 when the Irish Supreme Court referred to the European courts, three issues in his bid to stop the European Stability Mechanism

The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) was finally launched on 8th October, after two legal challenges – one in Germany, one in Ireland – both failed. However, whilst the bid by Donegal South-West TD, Thomas Pringle (pictured above) at Ireland’s High Court and subsequently, Supreme Court, failed to stop the launch of the ESM, his challenge still has the potential to put an end to the scheme, at least for now. The Supreme Court in Ireland referred a number of matters to Europe’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg, and the oral hearing is set to commence this Tuesday on 23rd October, 2012. Whilst the hearing will not stop the scheduled payment of €258m into the scheme by Ireland tomorrow, the hearing does have the potential to stop the ESM in its tracks if the Court ultimately decides the manner in which the ESM has been created is incompatible with EU law. The Supreme Court in Ireland thought the matters were sufficiently arguable and legally feasible to allow it to refer these matters to Europe where they have been fast-tracked, though the Irish Supreme Court did not grant Deputy Pringle his request for an injunction halting progress of the ESM pending the ultimate outcome of the court hearings. This blogpost examines the issues, and will be the flagship blogpost on the subject with updates posted as the case progresses. The three matters which the Supreme Court in Ireland has referred to the CJEU are: 1. Is the ESM Treaty compatible with the EU Treaties? 2. Is the related decision by heads of government to amend the EU Treaties legally valid? 3. Can the ESM come into operation before the EU Treaty amendment comes into force (1st January 2013 at earliest)? Deputy Thomas Pringle has said he welcomes the fast-tracked hearing which will start on Tuesday and has said “I welcome the decision of the CJEU to use the accelerated procedure available to it to allow for an oral hearing in October. This shows that the Court recognises the urgency of this matter and its utmost importance to all EU states involved, including Ireland.” Deputy Pringle has stressed the potential exposure to Ireland of membership of the ESM. We seem to have formed the impression that money in the ESM will flow in only one direction to Ireland – that’s wrong, tomorrow €258m is set to be paid into the fund by Ireland and this will grow to over €1.25bn in the next 18 months. And the ESM commits us to pay in a maximum of €11bn to the scheme should things really get out of hand in Europe, and worse, the ESM allows itself the freedom to increase the uppermost cap. Though the hope here was that the ESM would be a backstop source of cheap funding when our IMF/EU programme expires at the end of 2013, tere is risk to Ireland from the ESM – it is not a one-way bet. Should Deputy Pringle be successful there will be an urgent need for European leaders to devise a lawful bailout mechanism, and you never know, we might have to have a new referendum in Ireland to approve such a mechanism. You can read the Irish Supreme Court decisions here and here. You can read the flagship blogpost on the High Court and Supreme Court hearings here. There will be updates here on the progress of the case.

UPDATE: 27th November 2012. At 8.30am Dublin time, the ECJ is set to announce its judgment.

Read Full Post »