French film star Dany Boon is entitled to €4.87 million in damages against several entities found to have defrauded him, a High Court judge has ruled.
On Tuesday Mr Justice Brian O'Moore said he was satisfied to make the award in favour of Mr Boon in proceedings where the actor had sought damages against French national Thierry Fialek-Birles aka Terry Birles aka Thierry Waterford-Mandeville and companies linked to him.
Mr Justice O'Moore said the court was satisfied that Mr Boon had been "defrauded" and "conned" out of a significant amount of money by Mr Birles and various corporate entities associated with him.
The judge also appointed receivers over and made permanent various freezing orders against several assets linked to Mr Birles and various defendants.
The defendants were also directed to pay Mr Boon's significant legal costs.
The assets the receivers will sell to satisfy the judgement include three sailing boats, the 'Erin', 'My Fair Lady' which are located in Co Cork, and the 'Shamrock' in Genoa in Italy, a house in Youghal, Co Cork, as well as monies held in various bank accounts linked to the defendants.
As well as Mr Birles, the judge said that he was satisfied to make a damages award against several other "co-conspirators" who he said had played "an active part" in the fraud committed against Mr Boon.
These include 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.
The orders were also made against the US registered, American Sail & Motor Navigation Inc, Amalgamated Plantations Company Ltd, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The court declined to make an order against another defendant, Sail & Motor Navigation Company Limited in Antigua and Barbuda.
While it did not participate in the proceedings, the court held that insufficient evidence had been put before it to allow it to make a damages award against that entity.
The Judge had previously granted formal judgement against the various parties, who either elected not to contest the applications or never made an appearance in court to deny the claims against them.
Two other companies who Mr Boon claims was part of the fraud committed against them, Asia Monaco Investments Ltd, with an address in Lusk Co Dublin, and Monaco-registered Asia Monaco Sarl have denied the claims and oppose any orders being made against them.
Those proceedings against those parties will return before the court in January.
Seeking the orders, Rossa Fanning SC for Mr Boon told Mr Justice O'Moore that the matter first came before the court last July when Mr Boon had claimed that Mr Birles advised that he invest €4.5 million of his money through SSMM in a scheme with the Irish Central Bank.
Counsel said that Mr Birles told him the scheme paid 3.25 per cent annual interest that was tax free.
That scheme never existed, and Mr Birles and despite Mr Boon's requests SSMM never returned the monies to his client, counsel added.
Counsel said that in addition also based on Mr Birles advice Mr Boon had advanced €2.2 million also through SSMM towards the maintenance and upkeep of his client's yacht.
From their investigations it was estimated that a sum of just over €1.86m of those monies was either used for legitimately or could not be proven to have been used for fraudulent purposes, counsel said.
Counsel said that Mr Boon did not know if there was any "skimming off the top" of any monies paid towards the maintenance of the yacht.
Their estimate was that a sum of €370,000 of those funds was used for fraudulent purposes, counsel said.
Overall Mr Fanning said it remains Mr Boon's case that his monies had been personally used by Mr Birles to fund that defendant's luxurious lifestyle.
Following contract from a whistle-blower and subsequent investigation by a PI Belgium-based Mr Boon secured High Court freezing orders in July preventing and several corporate entitles Mr Birles allegedly either controls or it the ultimate beneficial owner of from reducing their assets below a value of €6m as well as various disclosure orders.
Mr Boon claims Mr Birles had represented himself to be an "Irish Lord from an ancient family" and an expert lawyer in maritime law.
Mr Birles, it was claimed, committed the fraud by using a network of companies that he established in Ireland and other jurisdictions.
Bank records obtained on Mr Boon's behalf showed that his monies were moved out of Ireland to various entities he allegedly controlled.
Mr Birles had denied the allegations before he, and other defendants discharged their lawyers and opted not to participate in the proceedings.
He had also claimed that after the money had been advanced SSMM had been sold to the "Rossi" family in Italy and that they were responsible for that entity's actions.
SSMM had been represented in the proceedings, before its Irish lawyers came off record after being unable to get proper instructions from its client.