Declan Ganley’s lawyers seek discovery against Denis O’Brien
Documents sought include financial details and settlement with ex-TD Colm Keaveney
Denis O’Brien: expected to resist the move. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill
Mr O’Brien, who is suing the Galway-based businessman and Red Flag Consulting, is expected to resist. Mr O’Brien is also being asked to produce documentary evidence backing his sworn allegations against the PR company.
Mr O’Brien has been asked to produce evidence that a dossier prepared by Red Flag undermined his bid to sell shares in Digicel, a Caribbean-based mobile phone company. The initial public offering was aborted in October 2015.
Mr Ganley wants sight of all Mr O’Brien’s income and assets for the three years up to October 13th, 2017, to show “what impact, if any, the alleged conspiracy, defamation and/or breach of confidence has had” upon him.
Documents linked to Mr O’Brien’s dealings with former TD Colm Keaveney and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin are also sought. The High Court court yesterday adjourned the discovery application for six weeks, by agreement.
Three years ago, Mr O’Brien says he received, anonymously and without explanation, a USB memory stick, which he says was in an envelope with a password written inside it, and was left, according to him, on his office desk in Dublin.
The memory stick, a dossier of 339 mainly PDF and Word documents, were shocking, extraordinary and designed to injure him, Mr O’Brien claimed, adding that the dossier was evidence that a conspiracy existed against him.
Red Flag denial
Denying any involvement in a conspiracy, Red Flag said it created the dossier, but denies it put the contents on a USB stick. It shared it with Mark Hollingsworth, a sometime journalist who was then working simultaneously with a London-based corporate intelligence gathering company, Alaco.
However, on October 13th, 2017, the day the Court of Appeal refused Mr O’Brien discovery against Red Flag, he says Mr Keaveney allegedly told him Red Flag had compiled the dossier on behalf of Mr Ganley. Mr Ganley denies this.
According to Mr O’Brien’s side, the former TD agreed to swear an affidavit to that effect supporting Mr O’Brien’s case against the PR company. Because of this, the High Court made Mr Ganley a co-defendant with Red Flag.
On the same day he agreed to swear the affidavit, Mr O’Brien stopped suing Mr Keaveney over a Dáil speech critical of Mr O’Brien. Mr O’Brien agreed to pay his costs. Mr Keaveney had been ruled bankrupt previously but exited bankruptcy in June 2017. *
Access to documents
Mr Ganley wants access to any documents Mr O’Brien has relating to his settlement with Mr Keaveney, saying pointedly they are needed “to establish the veracity and/or independence of the evidence of Colm Keaveney”.
Mr Ganley has also sought all documents relating to Mr O’Brien’s receipt of the USB stick and all examinations of it by O’Brien’s side, including by Martin Coyne, a Dutch-based private investigator, before access was given to Red Flag
Mr O’Brien is also requested to hand over papers between October 2010 and October 2015 linked to questioning of him by journalists or business associates, along with details of his instructions to advisers involved in managing his reputation for the past seven years.
On Micheál Martin, Mr Ganley’s lawyers want all documents held by Mr O’Brien relating to a memo of meetings between the Fianna Fáil leader and Neil Ryan, a department of finance official seconded to IBRC.
* This article was amended on May 20th, 2019 to correct an error.