A medical equipment supplier, which featured in an RTÉ television programme that alleged certain senior hospital officials received gifts from suppliers, wants to be liquidated, the High Court heard on Thursday.
Eurosurgical Ireland Ltd, featured in an RTÉ Investigations Unit programme concerning alleged breaches of hospital procurement procedures, which was broadcast last year.
On Thursday at the High Court, three of the company's shareholders - siblings Gary, Alan and Allison Kane - petitioned the court for the appointment of insolvency practitioner David Van Dessel of Deloitte as provisional liquidator of the company.
The shareholders represented by barrister Declan Murphy said his clients want the liquidator appointed so he can conduct an investigation into the sale of the company’s undertaking under an agreement known as a Business Transfer Arrangement (BTA).
Under the BTA, Eurosurgical had transferred its business undertaking, including its employees, to another entity called Gemini Surgical Innovations Ltd.
The liquidator could determine if the sale, which went ahead on May 1st last, was in the best interest of the company and its creditors. It was the shareholders’ case that the winding up of the company was just and equitable.
The liquidator could also conduct an investigation into the company’s dealings with Revenue, which the court heard has issued an assessment to Eurosurgical saying it owed €3 million in taxes.
Mr Murphy told the court the company which had been in business for many years experienced difficulties after it featured in the RTÉ broadcast.
The programme alleged the company had given gifts to officials of the HSE in exchange for commercially sensitive information.
Arising out of this and other difficulties, including the Revenue assessment, the company’s undertaking was sold to Gemini. Counsel said his clients wanted the appointment of a liquidator done as soon as possible.
The appointment of a liquidator to assess the BTA, should the deal be validated, would “remove any uncertainty” surrounding the business and the employees, counsel said.
His clients, counsel said, were not shareholders, are not involved in the governance of, nor derived any profit from Gemini. They were employees of that company, he added.
The application came before Ms Justice Mary Faherty, who adjourned the application to appoint Mr Van Dessel to Friday’s sitting of the court.
The judge said she was putting the matter back after being informed that Revenue, which is a significant creditor of Eurosurgical, was seeking an adjournment. This was to allow Revenue to consider the details of the proposed winding up of Eurosurgical.
While noting the petitioner’s desire to have the application heard as soon as possible, the judge said she did not see how the matter would be prejudiced if a short adjournment was granted.