John Kelly denies property link to Thomas Byrne

MILLIONAIRE developer John Kelly – the tycoon who paid Girls Aloud €100,000 to sing at his stepdaughter’s 21st birthday – is selling a property disgraced solicitor Thomas Byrne helped him buy.

The pair have been business associates for more than five years, with Byrne employed as his solicitor as well as being a co-director of at least two ventures.

One of those was a company that went into liquidation late last year while the other was a safety clothing manufacturer in Dublin’s city centre.

It is the company Orrwear’s €4.5m Hill Street premises that Kelly has now put up for sale.

Although Byrne – who became a director of the firm along with Kelly last April – handled the initial negotiations, the sale to Kelly was completed by another firm of solicitors.

The 44-year-old Wicklow-based developer is said to be furious at being dragged into his former solicitor’s legal problems, which started last month when the Law Society shut his firm down.

Byrne has been ordered to repay an astonishing €40m in loans to a string of financial institutions.

As well as being embroiled in various civil actions against him, a file on Byrne’s €12.6m EBS building society loan has been sent to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

They are also looking into Byrne’s association with murdered car dealer Brian Downes, who gave an address linked to Byrne as his own on files at the Companies Registration Office.

Downes himself was a known associate of Sean McMahon, who was shot dead in his bed last Wednesday as part of what is believed to be an on-going fued related to a money-laundering deal that turned sour.

Documents relating to a €9m IIB Bank loan Byrne took out using 16 properties already mortgaged to other banks contained a ‘deed of assurance’ signed on July 14, 2006, by a ‘John Kelly’.

A hand-writing expert and forensic document examiner used in the Morris Tribunal has been hired IIB Bank’s solicitors to examine all the paperwork relating to Byrne’s purchase of the Ballsbridge Terrace property.

However, Kelly has made a sworn affidavit that the ‘John Kelly’ signature is not his.

‘I did not execute any document whatsoever in relation to any purported conveyance or transfer of a legal or beneficial interest in the property to Thomas Byrne,’ he said.

‘I say the signature on the deed of assurance apparently dated 14th July 2006 is not my signature.’

Kelly shuns the limelight and despite his estimated €50m fortune, rarely features in the news.

However, he first came to national prominence when his stepdaughter Sinead posted pictures of her 21st birthday bash on the Bebo site.

Hosted at the five-star Four seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge, is featured the pop group Girls Aloud, who were flown over especially for the event which was attended by more than 150 of Sinead’s friends.

Dublin-born self made millionaire Kelly – who has very rapidly acquired his fortune from a string of shrewd property investments – is believed to have paid around €1m on the event for his stepdaughter.

She is one of the two daughters of his childhood friend, Vincent O’Connor – whose former wife Mary – and the children’s mother – is now married to Kelly.

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