Misconduct findings made against accountant Alan Hynes

Alan Hynes found to be involved in multiple breaches of codes of ethics and principles

Multiple findings of professional misconduct have been made against Wexford accountant Alan Hynes by a disciplinary tribunal of Chartered Accountants Ireland, which has decided he should be thrown out as a member.

The ruling will come into effect in 21 days if Mr Hynes has not lodged an appeal by the end of that period. Prior to the decision to expel Mr Hynes, his counsel, Alan Cormack, said the Wexford accountant and his wife, Noreen, were now "impecunious" and that their main source of income was a stipend to Ms Hynes from the institute's benevolence society. Ms Hynes is not a member of the institute.

Following the rejection of an application that the issuing of the tribunal’s finding be deferred pending a complaint to the Law Society made at the end of last year by Mr Hynes, tribunal chairman JP McDowell, read its findings into the record in a process that took in excess of an hour. Mr Hynes was not present for the hearing.

Breach of codes

The tribunal found he had been in breach of codes of ethics and principles guiding the profession in relation to, among other matters, integrity, competence and truthfulness.


It found multiple instances of Mr Hynes being involved in conflict of interest situations that he did not adequately deal with.

Among the criticisms made in the findings against Mr Hynes were “egregious” breaches of the institute’s code, “unmitigated failures” in relation to his dealings with clients, and “unconscionable behaviour” in relation to clients whose money he dealt with.

Over 14 days last year the tribunal heard of millions of euro being invested into Tuskar Asset Management plc (TAM) and other property ventures controlled by Mr Hynes.

Much of the money was lost. The investors included clients of Mr Hynes’s Wexford accountancy practice as well as pension investors.

One investor, John Power, of Power Life and Pensions, Crossabeg, Co Wexford, told the tribunal the actions of Mr Hynes had consequences that ranged from "bankruptcy to death".

The tribunal heard that investors were asked to grant powers of attorney and that in some instances these were used to give personal guarantees to banks on behalf of investors, without the investors being told or being advised to get independent legal advice.

In their report the tribunal found Mr Hynes’s actions were such that they brought discredit on his profession. In an “unconscionable act”, Mr Hynes had secured a €1 million investment from a pensioner when Mr Hynes was “desperate” to secure funding for Tam, which subsequently went into liquidation.

The tribunal found that Mr Hynes had been lacking in integrity and truthfulness and that he had failed to account for €3.1 million of investors’ funds. This failure was particularly egregious as he was dealing with pensioner investors.

Mr Hynes had thereby brought discredit on the profession and been guilty of professional misconduct.

Barrister Brian Farren, for the complaints committee of Chartered Accountants Ireland, urged that Mr Hynes be "excluded" from the institute as a result of the findings.

However, Mr Cormack said his client had become overstretched during the boom years and there was a sense that he was “creature of his time.”

The tribunal ruled that Mr Hynes should pay €500,000 of the costs associated with the inquiry.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent