Unicorn restaurant directors warned of jail for contempt over accounts

Pair get four months to comply with order directing them to file 2010-2012 returns

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday gave Pia Bang Stokes (above) and Georgio Casari, directors of Vino Classico Ltd, a company that formerly operated the Unicorn restaurant in Dublin,  four months to comply with a court order made last year directing them to file the firm’s annual returns for 2010 to 2012 with the registration office. Photograph: Courtpix

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday gave Pia Bang Stokes (above) and Georgio Casari, directors of Vino Classico Ltd, a company that formerly operated the Unicorn restaurant in Dublin, four months to comply with a court order made last year directing them to file the firm’s annual returns for 2010 to 2012 with the registration office. Photograph: Courtpix

Sat, May 17, 2014, 01:00

A High Court judge has warned two directors of a company that formerly operated the Unicorn restaurant in Dublin they face being jailed for contempt unless they file outstanding accounts with the Companies Registration Office.

The Unicorn continues to trade under a different company.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday gave Pia Bang Stokes and Georgio Casari, directors of Vino Classico Ltd, four months to comply with a court order made last year directing them to file the firm’s annual returns for 2010 to 2012 with the registration office.

Vino Classico operated the Unicorn restaurant in Merrion Row between 2011 and 2013 and also operated a piano bar and food store.

The judge was told by counsel for the company’s official liquidator, Myles Kirby, the directors have fallen out with each other and have not complied with the order to file the accounts.

Mr Casari, the Priory, Rathfarnham, representing himself, asked the court to vary the order requiring the directors file the accounts by the end of December 2013. He had lost his business and could not afford to pay the cost of hiring an accountant to do the work and was not qualified to do the work himself, he said.

Ms Bang Stokes, the Mill House, Kilternan, Co Dublin, also represented herself and said she had been unable to comply because there were things wrong with the accounts. She had been in business for more than 40 years and rejected any questioning of her integrity, she added.

John Kennedy, for Mr Kirby, asked the court to leave the 2013 orders unchanged but said his client was content to allow the directors more time to file the accounts.

When the matter was previously before the court in September 2013, the directors were given until the end of 2013 to file audited returns for the years in question, counsel said. Both directors consented to that but had not complied and it would be unfair to the creditors of the company to be asked to pay to have the returns prepared, filed and audited, counsel added.

The accounts for 2010-2012 were “in a mess”, Mr Kennedy added. Despite retaining some books and records, the liquidator did not know the sales figures, purchases, expenses, profit or losses for the years in question.

There were significant variations between the values placed by the directors on the company’s assets with Mr Casari estimating those at €41,000 and Ms Bang Stokes estimating them at approximately €360,000, counsel added.