Two companies being sued by well-known French film star Dany Boon in proceedings where he claims he is the victim of a multi-million-euro fraud are to contest freezing orders that have been made against them, the High Court has heard.
Lawyers representing Asia Monaco Investments Ltd with an address in Lusk, Co Dublin, and Asia Monaco Sarl registered in the principality of Monaco, told the High Court on Wednesday that they intend to seek a variation on freezing orders made against the firm, to allow them fully defend Mr Boon's claims.
The two firms were among five companies added to proceedings as defendants in a claim brought by Mr Boon,
Mr Boon claims all of the companies are linked to and controlled by Thierry Fialek Birles, the person the film star claims is behind the alleged fraud committed against him.
In July Mr Boon secured a High Court freezing order preventing Thierry Fialek-Birles aka Terry Birles aka Thierry Waterford-Mandeville and several corporate entities he allegedly either controls or is the ultimate beneficial owner of from reducing their assets below a value of €6 million.
Mr Boon also secured various disclosure orders requiring the defendants to provide him with various documentation, in an attempt to ascertain where his money has gone.
The freezing orders are 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, which he claims are all linked to Mr Birles and the fraud committed against Mr Boon.
Earlier this month similar freezing and disclosure orders were obtained against five new corporate defendants, including Asia Monaco Investments and Asia Monaco Sarl.
The other three are 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.
When the matter returned before Mr Justice Brian O'Moore on Tuesday, Rossa Fanning SC for Mr Boon said lawyers had come on record for Asia Monaco and Asia Monao Investments, and certain documents, including financial information had been furnished to his client's solicitors.
Time to consider matters
Counsel said that lawyers representing Mr Boon and the two companies required time to consider matters.
Counsel said his side had heard nothing from the three other additional defendants, and they were not represented in the proceedings.
Mr Fanning added his client intends to seek judgment against the defendants who are not represented in the proceedings and those defendants whose lawyers have been discharged.
Counsel said that those parties have taken an active decision not to contest Mr Boon's action against them.
The judge agreed that Asia Monaco and Asia Monaco required time to bring an application to have the freezing order against them varied.
In respect of those defendants the court continued the temporary injunctions obtained against them
The judge also agreed to continue the various orders, which are to remain in place pending the final outcome of the full hearing of Mr Boon's claim, against all of the other defendants.
The matter is due to be mentioned before the court later this week.
The Judge added that the application for judgement against the defendants not contesting the proceedings should be heard next month.
In his action Mr Boon claims that he is the victim of "a systemic and elaborate fraud with an international dimension".
He alleges 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 that he invested €4.5 million of his money through SSMM in a scheme with the Irish Central Bank.
He alleges Mr Birles told him paid 3.25 per cent 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 €2.2 million, through SSMM, to cover the costs of running 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 €6 million.
It is claimed Mr Birles, a French citizen aged in his thirties, 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 and had initially indicated that he would contest the action, but subsequently discharged his lawyers and opted not to participate in the proceedings.