Gardaí investigating alleged theft of over €1 million by employee make second arrest

Accountancy firm had alerted gardaí to false claims for expenses by employee

The main suspect was arrested last month and was released without charge. An Garda Síochána said at the time a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The main suspect was arrested last month and was released without charge. An Garda Síochána said at the time a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Gardaí investigating the alleged theft of over €1 million by an employee of a major Irish accountancy and auditing firm have made a second arrest in the case. The man detained for questioning on Friday is a very close associate of the main suspect in the case.

The Irish Times reported last month that the main suspect had been arrested as he was under investigation for alleged over-claiming on expenses over two years exceeding €1 million.

Gardaí believe much of the unaccounted for money is no longer in Ireland and they are trying to determine where it was transferred to.

The man arrested on Friday was detained by members of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau “following allegations of theft at an accountancy firm” last year and in 2019.

“The arrest was made as part of an ongoing investigation following a complaint made by the accountancy firm relating to false claims for expenses by an employee, in excess of €1,000,000,” Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin, said.

The arrested man was being held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and was currently being questioned in Terenure Garda station on Friday afternoon.

While sums of money have been frozen in bank accounts, both in the Republic and abroad, the total amount still in those accounts when they were frozen was only a small fraction of the sum that is alleged to have been stolen.

The financial services company made a formal statement of complaint with gardaí after the allegations came to light late last year that an employee had been significantly over-claiming expenses. The alleged thefts went unnoticed for long enough for the sum in dispute to grow so significantly.

The main suspect was arrested last month and was released without charge. An Garda Síochána said at the time a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In January, the Garda team carried out a significant phase of its investigation, though details did not come to light at the time. The man’s home in Leinster was searched in January and his laptop and phone were taken for analysis by Garda technical experts.

Forensic accountants were also analysing financial records unearthed during the investigation The suspect, who is aged in his 30s, has also surrendered his passport since his first interaction with investigating gardaí.