Accountants’ body overturns misconduct findings against former president

Certified Public Accountants (CPA) institute reverse original findings against Keane

Following a two-day appeal hearing last month the Certified Public Accountants reversed its findings against its former president  Tom Keane.

Following a two-day appeal hearing last month the Certified Public Accountants reversed its findings against its former president Tom Keane.

 

The Certified Public Accountants (CPA) institute has overturned two findings of professional misconduct against its former president following an appeal.

Tom Keane, an insolvency practitioner and senior partner at Dublin accountancy firm BKRM, was originally found to have breached the institute’s code of ethics in relation to two complaints against him by a former business partner, Robert O’Dolan. However, following a two-day appeal hearing last month the CPA reversed its findings against Mr Keane.

Mr Keane, president of the institute for two years in the 1990s, had organised a consortium of investors, including Mr O’Dolan, to acquire land on Inis Mór in 2002, on which the Aran Islands Hotel was later built with the help of significant tax incentives. It was alleged Mr Keane, who later became a shareholder in the company behind the hotel, never passed on to the complainant a solicitor’s letter, that expressed “considerable anxiety” about possible budget overruns.

In its ruling, the CPA’s appeals tribunal said it could not determine if the letter had been passed on, while questioning why evidence from the solicitors’ firm in question, Gore & Grimes, had not been sought in the original investigation.

The tribunal also disputed assertions by Mr O’Dolan that he did not know he was the managing partner in the partnership or that Gore & Grimes was acting as solicitors.

Signed off

It also ruled the charge against Mr Keane was constructed using the terminology of the association’s new code of ethics, not the one in existence at the time of the alleged offence. “The error and confusion is not just regrettable, it not acceptable,” it said.

The second finding related to Mr O’Dolan’s claim that Mr Keane advised him to invest in a healthcare company, Telehealth Limited, in 2007 without disclosing his own shareholding in the company.

Mr O’Dolan bought three shares for €75,000 only to find out later that Mr Keane had 15 shares in the company, orginally purchased at €1 each. The dispute arose as to whether Mr Keane was acting in a business capacity or in a personal capacity when advising Mr O’Dolan.

Mr Keane claimed he had told Mr O’Dolan to seek independent advice prior to investing, an assertion denied by the complainant.

The tribunal said it seemed that “at the very least” Mr Keane advised Mr O’Dolan to speak to a third party.