Leslie Buckley to ‘robustly’ defend himself in face of INM legal action

Group’s ex-chairman reacts to news that it is suing him over alleged data breaches

Leslie Buckley, former chairman at Independent News & Media. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Leslie Buckley, former chairman at Independent News & Media. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Independent News & Media’s former chairman, Leslie Buckley, has vowed to “robustly defend himself” after the media group launched a legal action against him months after he stepped down from his position.

The lawsuit, dated May 30th, is reported by the Irish Independent, which is published by INM, to be related to company claims that it suffered damage as a result of alleged actions by Mr Buckley, who stepped down in March.

INM in April wrote to 19 people whose data was allegedly breached to say that it was “unauthorised” and occurred “on the instruction of then-chairman” Mr Buckley.

Mr Buckley is at the centre of a State investigation into the alleged illegality at INM, and his relations, as chairman, with long-time business associate, INM’s largest individual shareholder Denis O’Brien.

INM is opposing an application by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) for the appointment of High Court inspectors to investigate the matter.

The corporate watchdog has also alleged that an Isle of Man-based company called Blaydon Ltd, which is connected to Mr O’Brien, paid the bill for cybersecurity experts to secretly access INM files, including journalists’ private communications.

“It would not be appropriate for me to speculate or to comment on any matter that may be the subject of legal proceedings,” Mr Buckley said in a statement provided to The Irish Times on Thursday in response to questions.

“I reiterate my already stated position that I will fully and robustly defend myself against each and every allegation.”

A spokesman for INM wasn’t immediately available for comment.