Firm of ‘garlic man’ Paul Begley making almost €4,000 a week in profit

Begley Brothers businessman was convicted of evading tax on Chinese garlic by labelling shipment as apples

A fruit and vegetable distributor last year recorded pretax profits of almost €4,000 per week while the company’s boss languished in jail.

In March 2011 at Dublin Circuit Court, Dublin businessman Paul Begley (47) of Begley Brothers Ltd was jailed for six years for his role in a €1.6 million garlic import duty scam.

Mr Begley was jailed after admitting labelling more than 1,000 tonnes of garlic imported from China as apples, which have a lower tax rate.

In January of this year, the Court of Criminal Appeal reduced Mr Begley’s sentence to two years after the three-judge court ruled that the landmark sentence was not proportionate to the crime and the criminal.


Mr Begley – who resigned as a director from Begley Brothers Ltd in January 2012 – was subsequently released from jail in March and new accounts show the family-owned Begley Brothers continued to make handsome profits in spite of Mr Begley’s jailing.

The accounts show that the business recorded pretax profits of €203,533 – or €3,914 per week – in Mr Begley’s absence in the year to the end of November 26th, 2012.

Mr Begley of Woodlock, Redgap, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to evading customs duty between September 2003 and October 2007 and later came to an agreement with Revenue to repay €1.6 million in estimated evaded duty.

The accounts reveal Mr Begley retained a substantial shareholding last year.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times