Business linked to alleged Armagh fuel smuggler tops tax defaulters list with €9.1m

Shabra Plastics, run by prominent Monaghan businesswoman Rita Shah, also named

A fuel company owned by a man who has been the target of several cross-Border smuggling investigations tops the latest tax defaulters list with a debt to the State of €9.1 million.

DMG Energy, whose directors include Armagh man Damien McGleenan, has been in liquidation since 2013. It was targeted by Revenue for non declaration of excise duty and under-payment of VAT, according to the list published on Tuesday.

DMG, now registered in Dublin but previously based around Dundalk, owes €3.4 million in tax, with a further €5.7 million in interest and penalties. None of the debt had been repaid by September, according to Revenue.

Mr McGleenan has been repeatedly targeted over many years by authorities in Northern Ireland investigating fuel smuggling. In 2007, police in the North froze assets on both sides of the Border worth more than €12 million, which belonged to Keady-based Mr McGleenan and members of his extended family.

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In 2009, Mr McGleenan and members of his extended family handed over assets worth up to £6 million (€6.6 million) to the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency after a lengthy High Court battle. The assets included several houses and were described at the time by UK tax authorities as being “amassed through years of fuel smuggling and excise fraud”.

It is unlikely that the €9.1 million owed to the State by DMG, which Mr McGleenan co-owns with his wife, will be recovered, as a liquidator’s note says it had assets of €32,400 but owed unsecured creditors €2.3 million.

Liability

DMG’s liability is almost twice as large as the next biggest case among the 17 tax defaulters named on Revenue’s latest list. The second-largest amount was a €4.9 million debt owed by a Roscommon businessman and farmer who is an investor in the group that is the shirt sponsor for Mayo GAA.

Michael Feeley, whose tax bill included €1.8 million in penalties for non-payment of capital gains tax, has since repaid the debt, according to Revenue.

Mr Feeley is one of the investors behind the company that ultimately owns the west of Ireland-based retailer, Intersport Elverys, whose brand will adorn Mayo shirts in the All Ireland final this month.

The retail business is owned by Staunton Sports, which is in turn owned by West Roxbury Trading, which is owned by West Roxbury, in which Mr Feeley is listed as owning a 20 per cent stake, according to documents filed in the Companies Registration Office.

Mr Feeley is also listed as a director of another company, Tricondale, that is registered to the sports group's Mayo headquarters. Only Mr Feeley is named as a tax defaulter and none of the companies directly and indirectly connected to him are tax defaulters or are named on Revenue's list.

Names

A €1.93 million settlement for unpaid income tax was also registered against Newry-based businessman Danny Fitzpatrick. Mr Fitzpatrick previously owned a pub and restaurant, Fitzpatrick's, which traded at Rockmarshall near Dundalk, Co Louth, until its temporary closure in 2018.

The business was subsequently sold by a bank receiver and now operates as Fitzpatrick's under new ownership and management. Sherwood Investments, the company through which Mr Fitzpatrick owned the pub and restaurant, was named earlier this year in a separate Revenue tax defaulters list for owing €10.9 million.

Among the other prominent names on the most recent defaulters list is Monaghan-based plastics business, Shabra Plastics & Packaging, which owed €1.8 million in a VAT case. The debt appears to have been repaid to the State sometime before September. Shabra is closely associated in the media with its founder, businesswoman Rita Shah. The defaulters list also includes a milkman, a solicitor, a builder, and PAYE employees of various businesses.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column