Former Bóthar CEO stole money over 21-year period, court hears

David Moloney said he was generous with the cash which he spent on things such as family holidays and on his friends

Bóthar's former CEO David Moloney "stole" significant quantities of cash donated to the charity to fund his lifestyle over a 21-year period, the High Court has heard.

Mr Moloney, in a sworn statement to the court, says he was generous with the cash which he spent on things such as family holidays, on his friends, but never lodged the monies in the bank or kept any of the cash taken.

He also claims much of what was misappropriated was paid to others, including the late Bóthar founder Peter Ireton. He further says his wife Olive did not knowingly benefit from the monies he took, and was never given any of the cash he took.

In a sworn statement, Mr Moloney said he was deeply sorry, embarrassed and appalled for the damage he has caused. He is currently on welfare, which is his sole income, he said.

Bóthar does not accept his explanations about what happened to the misappropriated funds, Mr Justice Senan Allen noted when the charity's action against Mr Moloney returned before him on Friday.

The judge, based on admissions by Mr Moloney, agreed to vary a freezing order preventing the former CEO reducing his assets below €769,000 to a value of €1.1m.

The judge also heard applications by Mr and Mrs Moloney to vary the freezing order put in place after it emerged Mr Moloney misappropriated the charity’s monies.

The judge was prepared to allow Mr Moloney variations on the freezing orders releasing €13,000 from a credit union account allowing him pay towards his legal fees.

He also permitted Mr Moloney make payments out of accounts in his name, the proceedings of which the defendant claims come from his salary, towards “essential” living expenses,

These include childcare costs, insurance on his home and an investment property he owns, and mortgages repayments.

The judge said, while Bóthar did not like Mr Moloney’s explanation about where the money has gone, his claim that the “stolen cash” had all been spent was plausible.

The judge dismissed the application by Olive Moloney, against whom no allegations of wrongdoing have been made, to vary the orders.

She had sought orders including that €12,000 be released from a credit unit account in her husband’s name to pay her legal fees.

She also sought an order for the release of moneys from a joint Permanent TSB Account with her husband to go towards her and her children's living expenses.

The expenses include childcare for the couple’s children, insurance costs and mortgage payments.

The judge, who expressed his sympathy for the dreadful situation Mrs Moloney found herself in due to her husband’s action, rejected her applications for variations on the grounds they were misconceived.

The money she was seeking would essentially be coming from Mr Moloney, the judge said.

Mrs Moloney, he said, had made claims about interests in marital assets, including the family home, worth €500,000 with just €60,000 remaining on the mortgage, and an investment property worth €150,000 with €90,000 owed on that mortgage.

No evidence had been given to the court as to her financial contribution to those assets, the judge added.

Bóthar, represented by Frank Beatty SC opposed the applications, on grounds including that information and details provided by the couple was not sufficient to allow the court make the variations to the orders.

The judge said the case was an unfolding tragedy where Mr Moloney had made admissions of taking cash in suitcases from Bóthar over a lengthy period of time.

Previously Mr Moloney admitted before the court that he and others, including the late Peter Ireton, had misappropriated large amounts of monies donated to the charity for their personal use. The admissions came after Bóthar, whose activities include aiding poor farmers in developing nations through donations of livestock, secured a High Court injunction freezing the assets of Mr Moloney, who resigned his post as CEO in February.

The monies included approximately €200,000 that the charity believed was donated to projects run by an order of Roman Catholic nuns in Tanzania between 2013 and 2018, which the order never received.

Mr Moloney also admitted misappropriating €127,000 which was paid to an English company for services it provided in relation to purported projects in Rwanda, which were never carried out.

He admitted that in 2016 €100,000 of the charity’s money was fraudulently paid into a pension fund he set up for himself. The matter is the subject of a garda investigation.

Mr Moloney of Clino, Newport, Co Tipperary, worked with Bóthar since 1995, and was its CEO for eight years.

Bóthar claims in its proceedings that an on-going investigation into his conduct has revealed that he is “guilty of an egregious breach of trust and an appalling dereliction of his duty to Bóthar and the beneficiaries of its charitable objects.”

The matter will return before the court next month.