A businessman’s bankruptcy has been extended for a further eight years by the High Court after it found he had endeavoured to conceal his interest in a €5.5 million Dalkey property.
Godfrey Lalor, who once owned a property on Sorrento Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, was adjudicated bankrupt in June 2016.
A year later, the official assignee to the bankrupt’s property filed a motion seeking to extend the bankruptcy on grounds of non-cooperation and failure to disclose assets.
In a recent judgement, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said he would extend Mr Lalor’s bankruptcy to June 2029. The normal term of bankruptcy is for one year, but this can be extended in cases of non-cooperation or non-disclosure of assets, he noted.
Mr Justice Humphreys said he believes to be justified the official assignee’s characterisation of Mr Lalor’s approach to the situation as “catch me if you can”.
The judge also endorsed as correct, the official assignee’s assertion that it is “essential for the integrity of the bankruptcy process that a bankrupt’s obligation to cooperate fully and disclose everything in relation to assets is strictly enforced”.
The judge noted that Mr Lalor had sought to conceal his interest in the Monte Rosa property on Sorrento Road to prevent it being realised for the benefit of his creditors.
Furthermore, some evidence given by Mr Lalor under cross-examination was misleading, while he had also failed to cooperate with the court’s previous July 2021 conclusion, Mr Justice Humphreys said.
The judge also found that Mr Lalor’s assertions of lack of control over relevant corporate assets and accounts were “lacking in credibility in all of the circumstances”.
Mr Justice Humphreys said near total non-cooperation would presumably warrant a near maximum bankruptcy period, and these circumstances “come into the top bracket” of the full 15-year period.
However, the judge said he had regard to any limited elements of information arguably supplied by Mr Lalor, as well as any arguably relevant circumstances, in reducing this by two years.
Mr Justice Humphreys was finalising a 2019 decision made by Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington to extend in principle the term of the bankruptcy.