Inquiries on Liechtenstein memo


The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales will make inquiries regarding the memorandum on Liechtenstein trusts prepared for the partners in Davy Stockbrokers.

At least one individual who gave advice to the unidentified author of the document is a member of the institute. Mr Edmund Burke, an accountant based in Zurich, was described as having given an "extremely informative" exposition on Liechtenstein trusts and their operation.

The anonymous author travelled to Zurich in August 1984 and interviewed several individuals before drafting a memorandum on how funds could be lodged in Liechtenstein and never come to the attention of the Irish Revenue Commissioners. The memo suggests instructions would be given over the telephone or in person, and no documentation would be generated in this jurisdiction about the scheme.

Mr Burke also belongs to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland as part of a reciprocal arrangement between the Dublin and London organisations. As he is firstly a member of the London institute, however, it is that body which has responsibility for any regulatory and disciplinary issues.

Material which entered the public domain in the past two weeks on the proposed tax scheme has been forwarded to the London institute's assessment and conciliation department. This will decide if the matter warrants investigation by its disciplinary committee.

Mr Burke told The Irish Times on Thursday that, as the author of the Davy memorandum is not known, he could not say if that person had interviewed him.

Contact with Mr Burke and the firm he then worked with in Zurich was organised by John Woods and Company, the accountancy firm in Blackrock, Co Dublin, according to the memo. The document contains nothing to indicate that the Dublin firm did anything contrary to the rules of the Irish institute. John Woods is part of the international affiliation Moores Rowland International, which also has offices in Zurich.

The 1984 memo was drafted at a time when the partners in Davy Stockbrokers were about to sell 29.9 per cent of their firm to Citicorp. In the event, the scheme outlined in the memo was not used and all proper tax was paid to the Revenue, a Davy spokesman has said.

In 1986, however, Mr Kyran McLaughlin, a Davy partner, set up a Liechtenstein trust for his children. Although after-tax money was used to establish the trust, Mr McLaughlin this week resigned as joint chief executive of Davy, saying there might be matters to resolve with the Revenue.