ODCE to ask High Court to appoint inspectors to INM

Move comes after an investigation by the State’s corporate watchdog following a protected disclosure by INM’s former CEO

 

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has informed Independent News & Media of its intentions to apply to the High Court to appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of the company.

In a statement on Saturday evening, INM said the application is due on April 16th under section 748 of the Companies Act 2014. Under this section the court may appoint an inspector to investigate affairs of a company and report on those affairs to the court, if the court is satisfied that there are circumstances suggesting that the affairs of the company have been conducted in an unlawful manner or on certain other specified grounds.

The statement said the board of INM is taking legal advice as to whether the court would have sufficient grounds to make the appointment. It warned that if the appointment is made it could result in the company incurring material costs.

It comes after an investigation by the ODCE following a protected disclosure by the former chief executive of INM, Robert Pitt. It is understood the investigation has considered a proposed acquisition of Newstalk. Mr Pitt left the company following a falling out with former chairman Leslie Buckley.

Newstalk is owned by Denis O’Brien, who is also INM’s biggest shareholder with almost 30 per cent.

In the course of this investigation, the ODCE uncovered details of a “potential data breach” at INM involving personal information at the newspaper publishing group.