Spread betting firm settles case


FINANCIAL SPREAD-betting business MarketSpreads has settled its case against two former executives who diverted funds from the company to another firm in which they were involved.

Just over eight weeks ago, MarketSpreads told the Commercial Court it intended to seek judgment against former chief executive Brian O’Neill, of The Copse, Beresford, Dublin, and Fergus Rice, of Pembroke Road, Dublin, for €1.7 million.

The court heard that the MarketSpreads board discovered late in 2010 and early in 2011 that advances, totalling €1.4 million, had been made to Sports Spread Betting Ireland, in which Mr Rice has a 60 per cent stake and in which Mr O’Neill is also involved.

The company sought the return of the money and interest, a total of almost €1.7 million.

Lawyers for both sides told the court yesterday that the matter had been settled and that both men had agreed to identical judgments against them for a total of €1.68 million.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan yesterday agreed to put a two-week stay on giving the judgment and the case was adjourned until then.

The company has been pursuing the former directors for the money since last year.

Letters from MarketSpreads to Mr O’Neill and Mr Rice show that, last year, both agreed in writing to repay the money, which was classed as a loan.

In October the company sent demands to both men. Those letters, seen by The Irish Times, said the sum due was a total of €1.7 million. The letters warned that if the money was not paid in seven days the company would issue proceedings to recover it.

MarketSpreads was the Irish operation of WorldSpreads, which is under special administration in the UK after a dramatic collapse.

MarketSpreads bought the business from WorldSpreads in 2010 and renamed it. They have been separate businesses since then.