Gayle Killilea, ex-wife of Seán Dunne, asks court to dismiss 2014 case against her

A US jury found in 2019 that Mr Dunne had fraudulently transferred millions of euro in assets to Ms Killilea

Gayle Killilea is asking the High Court to dismiss proceedings initiated against her a decade ago by the official assignee overseeing the bankruptcy of her developer ex-husband Seán Dunne.

The proceedings are brought by the official assignee dealing with Mr Dunne’s Irish bankruptcy, over the alleged fraudulent transfer of assets between Mr Dunne and Ms Killilea.

Mr Dunne, a Celtic Tiger-era property developer, was declared bankrupt in Ireland and the United States.

Ms Killilea, a former journalist, is due to argue that the issues in the Irish case against her have already been covered by American proceedings brought by Mr Dunne’s US bankruptcy trustee.


In that case, a jury in Connecticut found in 2019 that Mr Dunne had fraudulently transferred millions of euro in assets to Ms Killilea, including a mansion on Dublin’s Shrewsbury Road. The verdict made Ms Killilea liable to pay €18 million in damages to the bankruptcy trustee.

Last November a US appeals court dismissed the former couple’s separate appeals against the 2019 verdict. They have each filed separate appeals against this ruling to the US supreme court.

At the High Court in Dublin on Monday, Mr Justice Denis McDonald scheduled for Ms Killilea’s motion to dismiss the Irish case against her to be heard over five days beginning on May 7th.

He said five days seemed long for an application of this kind but added that this might be due to plans for two US attorneys to be cross-examined at the hearings.

He was told by Edward Farrelly SC, for the official assignee, and Michael P Binchy, for Ms Killilea, that the motion was ready for hearing.

The 2014 action against Ms Killilea, listed as Gayle Dunne in the case, alleges shares controlled by Sean Dunne in a company called Mavior were fraudulently transferred to Ms Killilea Dunne in an effort to defeat Mr Dunne’s creditors.

It also relates to the transfer of the Lagoon Beach Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa and any other assets transferred to her by Mr Dunne under a February 2008 agreement.

In 2018 the High Court rejected Ms Killilea’s requests for the proceedings to be dismissed on grounds that the Republic was not the appropriate jurisdiction and that the case conflicted with US law.

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Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter