CAB claims Cork man owes £3m in unpaid tax


The Criminal Assets Bureau is seeking judgment for more than £3 million against a Cork man, Mr Patrick McSweeney, for alleged unpaid taxes and interest penalties over a five-year period in the mid-1990s.

In High Court proceedings, the bureau is seeking an order for judgment for £1.49 million in unpaid taxes and interest for the years ending April 5th, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996 and a further order for £1.62 million for the year to April 5th, 1995.

Mr McSweeney, of Waterfall Road, Bishopstown, is challenging both applications and, in judicial review proceedings, is seeking to quash the 1995 Revenue tax assessment against him of £1.19 million.

When the case came before Mr Justice O'Sullivan yesterday, Mr Richard Nesbitt SC, for CAB, said three sets of proceedings were involved in the action before the court. There was also in existence a court order freezing Mr McSweeney's assets.

Dr Michael Forde SC, for Mr McSweeney, said he wished to raise issues of procedure before the application for judgment might proceed.

Counsel said his client was not in a position to pay the cost of the judicial review proceedings and added that the ad hoc CAB legal aid scheme did not apply to such cases.

Without a solicitor and counsel, it would be grotesquely unfair to compel Mr McSweeney to pursue the action.

Mr Nesbitt said the only issue holding back the 1995 Revenue assessment against Mr McSweeney was the judicial review challenge.

The Criminal Assets Bureau had offered to pay for legal representation for Mr McSweeney on parity with that provided for the State. But the respondent had argued that he should be allowed to choose his own counsel rather than have one provided for him and should be permitted to spend as much as was required in fighting his case.

Further submissions will continue today after which Mr Justice O'Sullivan will decide whether to proceed with the trial of the action in respect of each set of proceedings before the court.