A former accountant effectively controlled the affairs of three companies which later went into liquidation despite being disqualified and restricted from acting as a company director, the High Court heard.
Liquidator Myles Kirby was granted interim orders preventing former accountant Alan Hynes, and his cousin Frank Hynes, from reducing their assets below €2.46 million.
It arose out of Mr Kirby’s investigations into the three companies, Hynes Jewellers Wexford (HJW), JW Fashions (JWF) and Tuskar Property Holdings (TPH) whose affairs the liquidator says have been commingled.
Mr Kirby believes he has uncovered a series of improper transactions which amount to frauds on the companies and/or their creditors who are owed €2.4 million, the bulk of it in unpaid taxes due from the firms to Revenue.
Mr Kirby believes Alan Hynes has acted as a shadow and/or de facto director of the three companies during the term of a three year disqualification and five year restriction from directorships imposed on him by the High Court in October 2013.
Those penalties arose out of his involvement in property company Tuskar Asset Management.
The freezing orders were granted on Monday by Ms Justice Niamh Hyland following a one side only represented application from David Whelan for Mr Kirby.
The judge ordered publication be delayed until 10am on Tuesday to allow for service of the proceedings on the respondents.
An interim injunction was also granted preventing both Hynes men and a company called Tuskar Investment Group (TIG) from dissipating, transferring, encumbering or otherwise dealing with any assets or funds belonging to the three liquidated companies.
Mr Hynes's family was involved in the jewellery trade in Wexford with the HJW firm. His cousins, brother and sister Frank and Fiona Hynes were and remain directors of HJW.
Mr Hynes and his wife Noreen were directors of TPH until 2013, just before Mr Hynes was disqualified, and they were replaced by Adrian O’Reilly, from Cambridge in England, and James Wallace, who resigned in 2019, leaving Mr O’Reilly as sole director. Mr O’Reilly is also a respondent in the liquidator’s action.
Mr Wallace was a director of JWF which the liquidator says is a shelf company which has not traded. Mr Wallace resigned last December and its current directors are Frank and Fiona Hynes.
Mr Kirby was appointed liquidator of the three companies in January and February last.
In an affidavit Mr Kirby saidhis investigations have been hampered by a “striking lack of records and accounts and a lack of cooperation” by the Hynes and O’Reilly respondents. He believes Mr O’Reilly is acting under the direction of Alan Hynes.
Fiona Hynes and James Wallace have cooperated and he was not seeking any orders against them at this stage.
Mr Kirby said the value of payments made by the TPH company between 2015 and 2020 was just over €1 million in circumstances where this company had no discernible trade, turnover or declared tax during this time.
Most of those payments seem to have been made to the benefit of Alan and/or Frank Hynes, he said.
They included: €32,300 for hotels including luxury international hotels, €13,400 for food and drinks in restaurants, €7,000 to a cruise liner company, €7,600 on flights and just under €90,000 on other expenditure on things like home furnishings, club memberships, clothing, holidays, electronic goods, and grooming.
Mr Kirby says the TPH firm was used, among other things, as a vehicle to hide assets and income from Alan Hynes’ creditors and as a means to benefit and enrich members of the Hynes family.
He believes a contract of employment which Alan Hynes claimed to have with TPH, at a salary of €100,000 a year, is a sham and contrivance designed to benefit Mr Hynes at the expense of creditors.
He also believes significant cash withdrawals were made at a time when the HJW company was defaulting on its debts, that there was a fraudulent share transfer from HJW to TPH in January 2016, and there were inappropriate actions by directors in the context of vehicle hire purchase agreements.
There are further concerns about the alleged forgery of signatures of Fiona Hynes and of a former TPH director, Colm Sugrue, on Companies Office records.
The TIG respondent appeared to be the “latest entity into which Alan Hynes is seeking to divert assets with a view to evading his creditors and the creditors of the companies”, Mr Kirby said.