Tribunal chairman ‘confused’ by Hynes evidence

Chairman ‘utterly confused’ by accountant’s evidence about investors’ €3.1 million

Alan Hynes arriving at Chartered Accountants Ireland this week for a hearing with the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Alan Hynes arriving at Chartered Accountants Ireland this week for a hearing with the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 23:31

The chairman of the tribunal investigating allegations against Alan Hynes said yesterday he was “utterly confused” by the Wexford accountant’s evidence as to what had happened to €3.1 million investors had put into a property scheme promoted by Mr Hynes.

JP McDowell was speaking after Mr Hynes gave evidence to the tribunal yesterday, the ninth day of its operation.

On day two of the tribunal, Neil Hughes, liquidator of property investment company Tuskar Asset Management (Tam), said he had drawn up a list of 11 investors who put a total of €3.1 million in the venture and whose money did not reach the company.

He said Mr Hynes (45), a former director of Tam, was the “driving force” behind the business.

On the day Mr Hughes was giving evidence, Alan Cormack, for Mr Hynes, said it would be his client’s evidence that some of the investors’ money was put into the client account of Séamus Maguire solicitors and went from there to Tam.

Shares issued
He said this was on the basis that shares in Tam were issued to the investors. He could not offer any further evidence, he said. “There is an amount of confusion here.”

Mr Hughes said the fact that shares were issued was not proof that the money was received by the company.

He said he did not believe that the money that went into the law firm’s client account went on to Tam. “The money should have gone into the company’s accounts,” he said. “What Mr Hynes did with this money is not for me to answer for, it is for him. He is a director of the company that was entrusted with this money.”

Yesterday Mr Hynes, on day nine of the tribunal, began to address the issues raised by Mr Hughes, going into some detail and referring to a number of documents and transactions.

However, Mr McDowell said he was “utterly confused” by Mr Hynes’s evidence. At the end of the day’s hearing, he said Mr Hynes should put down in writing what he was saying about the €3.1 million and furnish the document to the tribunal within 10 days.

It would then be given to Mr Hughes to allow him to respond and Mr Hughes might have to be recalled to give more evidence.

He told Mr Cormack that “you need to crystalise your client’s case in relation to all of this” and that the matter was being made all the more confusing by the fact that the evidence now being offered by Mr Hynes had not been put to Mr Hughes when he had given evidence.

To say he was “mildly frustrated” at the prospect of having to recall Mr Hughes was an understatement, he said.

Mr Hynes said he had recently come into the possession of new information that allowed him address the matters raised by Mr Hughes, whom he said should withdraw the allegation he had made.

Brian Farren, for the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (Carb), which is presenting the complaints against Mr Hynes to the tribunal, said the evidence given yesterday by Mr Hynes was “very confusing” and asked that it be set out in “a comprehensible way, if that is possible.”

Half of investors
The tribunal heard that approximately half of the investors who put €16 million into Tam had been clients of Mr Hynes’s Wexford accountancy practice.

The tribunal heard that since the liquidation of Tam, Mr Hynes has been disqualified by the High Court from acting as a company director for three years. The ruling is being appealed.

The tribunal adjourned until May 12th, when it is to sit for two days of extended sittings, in an effort to complete its work.