The High Court was told last month that businessman Jim Kennedy has denied claims by former lobbyist Frank Dunlop that he gave £25,000 to Mr Dunlop in 1992 to buy councillors’ votes for a re-zoning of lands at Carrickmines. It was stated the lands were re-zoned in 1997 and valued at €53 million in 2005 and are now worth a fraction of the price.

Gibraltar-based Mr Kennedy was in court for the opening of proceedings by the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) against Jackson Way Properties Ltd, a company allegedly owned by Mr Kennedy and his solicitor John Caldwell. It is claimed that Jackson Way was unjustly enriched as a result of the re-zoning of farmland in South Dublin.

Outlining the Cab’s case, which is brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Mr Diarmuid McGuinness said Mr Dunlop will say he used £25,000 given to him by Mr Kennedy to lobby for the re-zoning of the land. Counsel said Mr Kennedy will deny any such payment.

The court heard that Mr Dunlop was recently released from an 18-month prison sentence for corruption in relation to the Carrickmines re-zoning and that he will say he was promised a “success fee” of £100,000 if re-zoning of the farmland to industrial use was obtained.

Counsel said it took another five years before the re-zoning was obtained and by that stage Mr Kennedy had promised a £250,000 success fee. He added, the value of the land increased to €6.6 million when it was re-zoned in 1997 and by 2005, just before the Cab initiated the unjust enrichment proceedings, it was worth about €53 million.

The Cab allege total unjust enrichment of around €10 million. That sum comprises the €5.7 million current value of the 17 acres, plus a €4.5 million sum allegedly overpaid to the company, as a result of the re-zoning, in an arbitration award. The case continues in the High Court.