Denis O’Brien application to join Esat action to be heard next month

Persona is suing the State, alleging the licence was awarded as a result of deceit and dishonesty

Billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien.

Billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien.

 

An application by billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien to be joined as a defendant to a multimillion euro legal action arising from the award of the State’s second mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone will be heard in the High Court next month.

Persona, a consortium that lost out to Esat, then owned by Mr O’Brien, in the 1996 competition, is suing the State, alleging the licence was awarded as a result of deceit and dishonesty. Mr O’Brien is seeking to be joined as a defendant in those proceedings.

The State, in separate proceedings, is seeking to have Mr O’Brien and former Fine Gael minister and current Independent TD Michael Lowry, made liable for any damages that might be awarded against it arising from Persona’s case. Mr Lowry was minister for communications at the time the licence was awarded.

The matter was briefly mentioned before the High Court yesterday when Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was told by Darren Lehane, for Mr O’Brien, that his application to be joined as a defendant would take a day. The judge fixed November 7th for the hearing of the motion.

Persona’s directors are businessmen Tony Boyle and Michael McGinley, the father of golfer Paul McGinley.

Businessman Declan Ganley’s Comcast International Holdings Inc, which finished sixth in the mobile licence competition, is also suing for damages.