Brothers face jail over claims of interference with land sales

Contempt application made against pair in relation to receiver’s efforts to recover €4.97m

The contempt application is against John Alex Kane, also known as Alex Kane, a car dealer from Granard, Co Longford, against whom the Revenue obtained a €4.97m judgment in July 2009. His brother Seamus is also accused of contempt. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The contempt application is against John Alex Kane, also known as Alex Kane, a car dealer from Granard, Co Longford, against whom the Revenue obtained a €4.97m judgment in July 2009. His brother Seamus is also accused of contempt. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Two brothers are facing a possible return to jail next week over allegations of contempt of court orders not to interfere with a Revenue-appointed receiver’s efforts to sell lands and property as part of efforts to recover a €4.97 million judgment against one of them over unpaid taxes.

The contempt application is against John Alex Kane, also known as Alex Kane, a car dealer from Granard, Co Longford, against whom the Revenue obtained a €4.97 million judgment in July 2009. Mr Kane’s brother Seamus is also accused of contempt. The contempt application against Alex Kane was listed before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, on Thursday when Gary McCarthy SC, for the Revenue, asked that it proceed.

Alex Kane was not in court and the judge ultimately agreed to adjourn the matter to next Wednesday on foot of a letter from the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, to the effect Alex Kane had attended there last Tuesday and was advised to have a week’s rest.

The alleged contempt includes claims of an alleged campaign to intimidate prospective purchasers of lands which the receiver, Myles Kirby, is seeking to sell. The judge also said it seemed Mr Kane appeared to have given incorrect evidence to the court that a 2017 Range Rover which the receiver is also seeking possession of was out of the jurisdiction.

Tracking information for the vehicle which the receiver had obtained from the manufacturer suggested otherwise but he was not making a finding on that matter at this stage, the judge said. He noted, arising from an agreement with Revenue, Alex Kane had paid sums totalling €330,000 to date and was due to make another payment of €120,000 in November.

The agreement also requires him to allow various parcels of lands to be sold and to account for 47 vehicles sold from a premises at Rathcronan, Co Longford. The judge on Thursday separately directed gardaí to arrest Seamus Kane for the purpose of bringing him before the court to explain why he should not be jailed for alleged contempt. That alleged contempt relates to claims Seamus Kane broke locks to enter and cut grass on lands the receiver wants to sell, actions which the receiver claims amount to an attempt to assert ownership and deter prospective purchasers.

‘Extraordinary’

Mr Justice Kelly said it was “extraordinary” that Seamus Kane was not in court on Thursday to answer the contempt charge when he had been clearly advised by his solicitor to attend. Both brothers were previously jailed for periods for contempt and Seamus Kane’s solicitor said his mental health had been affected as a result of spending a period in prison late last year before he purged his contempt.

Seamus Kane is prepared to give fresh undertakings to the court and had referred to getting a medical certificate, the solicitor added. The judge expressed concern about the breach of earlier undertakings and said he would deal with the matter next week.

Separately on Thursday, the court heard that Lucy Pinfold, wife of Alex Kane, had registered a legal claim over lands which the receiver wants to sell as part of efforts to recover the €4.97 million judgment against her husband.

Mr Kirby maintains there is no basis for Ms Pinfold’s claim, made in proceedings initiated by her last April against her husband. Mr Kirby, who had hoped to close a €140,000 sale of 34 acres of lands at Willsbrook, Granard, by Friday this week, objected to an adjournment of his application to set aside the lis pendens or legal claim registered over the property by Ms Pinfold. Solicitor Michael Finucane, who undertook to come on record for Ms Pinfold by close of business on Thursday, sought the adjournment to familiarise himself with the case and prepare comprehensive advices for her.

Mr Justice Kelly noted Ms Pinfold’s case appeared very similar to proceedings already heard and dismissed by the High Court and Court of Appeal. For reasons including he was told a short adjournment was unlikely to prejudice the proposed sale of the lands, he agreed to adjourn and fixed the receiver’s application for hearing early next month.