Lowry to appeal latest financial blow

It is not clear why accountancy firm has now decided to seek payment from Tipperary TD

Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 06:25

Michael Lowry has said he will immediately appeal to the High Court against the order granted against him for €650,000 plus VAT in favour of a Dublin accountancy firm yesterday.

Mr Lowry told The Irish Times he would be contesting the judgment order on a number of grounds.

The latest financial blow to the Tipperary TD comes in the same week that the Moriarty tribunal granted him just one-third of his claimed legal costs, thought to total some €8 million, and a few months after his home was raided by the Revenue Commissioners.

The accountancy bill arises from work done by Denis O’Connor, a partner in the Foxrock, Dublin, accountancy firm BBT, in connection with the investigation by the Moriarty Tribunal into alleged payments to Mr Lowry by businessman Denis O’Brien, as well as work done for the earlier McCracken (Dunnes Payments) Tribunal.

Harshly criticised
Mr O’Connor was involved in one of the more intriguing episodes in the Moriarty inquiry and was harshly criticised in the tribunal’s final report.

While he started out working with the tribunal to help it in its inquiries into Mr Lowry’s affairs, the tribunal later discovered that he was also doing work for Mr O’Brien’s interests in relation to matters connected with the inquiry.

A request for a comment from Mr O’Connor yesterday met with no response, and it is not clear why he has decided at this juncture to seek payment from Mr Lowry. Some of the money claimed relates to work done as far back as 1998.

Mr O’Connor’s affidavit discloses that Mr Lowry has made payments to him totalling €260,818, apparently in the past three years.

In his final report Mr Justice Michael Moriarty said Mr Lowry and Mr O’Connor were involved in a scheme whereby £65,000 was paid to Northern Ireland businessman Kevin Phelan so that a misleading letter would be supplied to the tribunal. He described the scheme as a “choreographed falsehood” orchestrated by Mr Lowry and Mr O’Connor.

Second payment
He also found that Mr O’Connor had negotiated a second payment, of £150,000, to Mr Phelan by Westferry, a company owned by Mr O’Brien, at a time when Mr Phelan was in possession of information that could be damaging to Mr O’Brien and to Mr Lowry.

Mr O’Brien has told the tribunal the payment had to do with fees being claimed by Mr Phelan in relation to property dealings in the UK that were investigated by the tribunal.

The accounts for Mr Lowry’s refrigeration company, Garuda, are still done by BBT, now called Ecovis BBT.