AIB must hand over account details in case alleging cyber fraud

Dutch pharma firm claims it lost almost €400,000 on back of fraudulent email

AIB said it  could not consent to the order sought but was not objecting to it. Photograph: Reuters

AIB said it could not consent to the order sought but was not objecting to it. Photograph: Reuters

 

A Dutch pharmaceutical company which claims it is the victim of a cyber fraud has secured a High Court order compelling Allied Irish Banks to provide details of an account allegedly used as part of the deceit.

Paul Fogarty BL, for AIB, said, for confidentiality and data protection reasons, the bank could not consent to the order sought but was not objecting to it.

Norgine BV claims it was the victim of “a serious fraud” involving it paying some €440,000 into an account at the AIB branch in Cahir, Co Tipperary, for products supplied to it by an Italian supplier.

The court was told it paid the monies after receiving an email, which it believed came from the supplier, saying the latter’s bank details had been changed and requesting that invoices be paid into the AIB account.

Norgine complied with the request but the monies were never received by the supplier. While some money was since recovered, a loss of just under €400,000 remains outstanding, it says.

On Wednesday, Norgine secured orders directing AIB to provide it within six days with details of the account in Cahir, including names and addresses of the account holders.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he was satisfied it was appropriate to make the orders sought and noted the information was to be used only in the investigation of the alleged fraud.

In seeking the order, Marcus Dowling BL, for Norgine, said the purpose of the application was to identify the person or persons who dealt with the account and to find out where the money had gone.

It was not known at present who had committed the fraud, he said.

Payment details

His client last October received an email which it believed was from its supplier. The email was among a chain of emails from the supplier, said the Italian firm’s banking details had changed and invoice payments should be made to a new account at AIB in Cahir. Two payments were made totalling approximately €440,000, counsel said.

His client was alerted to the fraud in early November when the supplier sent queries about the outstanding invoices, he said. The email was fraudulent as, instead of originating from an Italian domain, it had a similar address with a Turkish domain, he said.

Various authorities including the Gardai were notified and Norgine also wanted to bring civil proceedings against those who committed the fraud in order to recoup its losses. Of the monies paid out, some €48,000 was refunded after Norgine contacted its bank about the alleged fraud.

AIB was also informed, and while initially helpful, was unable to provide concrete assistance, counsel said.