A chief executive received more than £1million in unauthorised salary bonuses and pension payments, it has been claimed at the High Court.
Andrew Hetherington, former CEO of Dublin-based recycling firm Repak Ltd, allegedly arranged the payments over a five year period through "falsification of a paper trail", the court was told.
Mr Hetherington was on secondment from British Polythene Industries (BPI), through which payments were made from Repak to him. Under a 2001 contract, he was to receive a salary of £100,000 plus 40-50 per cent bonus if he met certain objectives, plus a pension contribution of 25 per cent of salary.
It is claimed he instead arranged, through falsification of documents, for bonuses of nearly 100 per cent and 75 per cent pension contributions over the years 2007-2012.
Repak is seeking the return of the monies.
It is suing him for fraud and deceit and BPI for breach of duty, negligence and misrepresentation.
BPI has denied the claims while Mr Hetherington, of Newark Street, Greenock, Scotland, has yet to enter a defence.
He was removed as CEO following a forensic report in 2012 by consultants Grant Thornton on behalf of Repak.
He returned to Scotland where he is still employed by BPI although he is currently out ill, the court heard.
Mr Justice Paul Gilligan has reserved his decision on a pre-trial issue as to whether Mr Hetherington is entitled to a copy of the Grant Thornton report prior to filing his defence to the case.
Mark Connaughton SC, for Mr Hetherington, argued there were exceptional circumstances whereby his client is entitled to see the full report in advance of putting in his defence.
Repak had claimed “litigation privilege” over the full report but the most serious allegations were being made on foot of a report Mr Hetherington has never seen, counsel said.
As a result of a draft of that report being presented to the Repak board, his client’s job was terminated and this breached fair procedures and natural justice, counsel said.
"We don't know why they (Repak) are so reluctant to produce this report now when they are going to have to produce it in any event", he said. Cian Ferriter SC, for Repak, said Mr Hetherington had been afforded full procedures and had also been provided with part of the report, including 16 pages of findings against him.
Mr Hetherington has no basis to contend there was any breach of procedures and was “fishing” for Repak’s detailed evidence in advance of putting in his defence which was not permissible, counsel said.
Mr Hetherington was fully aware of the allegations against him from what was set out in the statement of claim, he added.
“He knows full well the specific allegations, namely the unauthorised arrangement of payments of significant amounts of money to be paid to him and the falsification of a paper trail to try and retrospectively justify it”, counsel said.
The only exceptional circumstances in this case was the “egregious nature of the fraud”, counsel said.