CHC boss seeks to overturn freezing order
The former chief executive of failed investment firm Custom House Capital is seeking to overturn court orders freezing a number of bank accounts containing €180,000.
Harry Cassidy wants to challenge orders obtained by the Garda in July 2012 freezing two accounts with Bank of Ireland. The accounts are held by a private pension trust with two independent trustees established in 2000 to administer Mr Cassidy’s pension and he is the sole beneficiary, the court heard.
He claims the freezing orders were made in judges’ chambers and not in open court, but gardaí have failed to give him the full information to challenge the orders. He claims the freezing orders should have been made in public and the failure to give him all the information used to obtain them is unlawful and contrary to fair procedures.
Custom House Capital was wound up in 2011 after a High Court-appointed investigation by two Central Bank inspectors. That probe found “systemic and deliberate misuse” of €66 million of client money through false accounting to hide the transfer of the money to cover shortfalls in European property investments. The inquiry found “improper transactions” concerning €56 million in client funds and €10.4 million owing to clients on an investment bond.
At the High Court yesterday, Hugh Hartnett SC, for Mr Cassidy, Ballintyre Walk, Ballinteer, Dublin 16, said gardaí obtained 28-day freezing orders against bank accounts linked to his client.
The orders, made under the 2010 Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act, were renewed on several occasions since July and permit gardaí to carry out preliminary investigations into certain transactions.
Counsel said Mr Cassidy did not receive any notification of the initial freezing orders or the first three renewals and his lawyers have been unable to determine why the accounts have been frozen.
While copies of the sworn information grounding the making of the orders were sought, the statements were redacted.
Leave to bring the action was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart, who said Mr Cassidy had established an arguable case. He returned the matter to March.