DPP facing €500k legal bill from litigation with payments processor

Move follows failed court bid by State to seize €210,000 from Canadian-Irish group Pacnet

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The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) faces an estimated €500,000 legal bill following litigation over a State bid to seize €210,000 from card payments processor Pacnet.

Earlier this year, Mr Justice Garrett Simons ruled that the DPP could not challenge a High Court order dismissing proceedings brought by the office that would have forced Canadian-Irish group Pacnet to forfeit €210,000 to the State.

The High Court has since ordered that the DPP pay Pacnet Holdings’ legal costs, as well as those of director Gerard Humphreys, in-house counsel Robert Paul Davis and Anonan International, a Pacnet client and notice party to the case.

Sources yesterday suggested that the total legal bill for the case could come to about €500,000. The litigation resulted in several court hearings.

Pacnet handled credit and debit card payments for more than 700 organisations around the world.

Customs

The case involved €210,000 destined for Anonan International, which was seized by customs at Shannon Airport in 2010 pending paperwork confirming the money’s source.

The DPP asked the Circuit Court to order that Pacnet forfeit the €210,000 in 2013, naming Mr Humphreys and Mr Davis in the proceedings.

Irish law allows the Circuit Court to order the forfeiture of cash seized by the State that is believed to the proceeds of crime, but the DPP must apply to do this within two years of the money first being taken.

The three challenged the application saying that the DPP had not given Mr Davis proper notice of the proceedings within two years of the cash being seized.

The High Court found in their favour and in January 2015 issued an order allowing their appeal and awarding costs against the DPP.

The DPP subsequently attempted to raise the issue before the Court of Appeal, maintaining that as only three of the four parties involved had challenged the original forfeiture proceedings, they could still be taken against Anonan.

Pacnet challenged that move in the High Court and the judge ruled in its favour in January. The DPP’s office declined to comment on the matter.