Two arrested over alleged €450,000 fraud at UL

Men (60s) held over fraud understood to date back at least a decade in Limerick university

Two men have been arrested and questioned by gardaí in recent days in connection with an alleged €450,000 fraud at the University of Limerick.

The men, both aged in their 60s, were held for 24 hours at Henry Street Garda Station.

"On the morning of Wednesday, 9th March, 2022, Detectives from the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Unit at the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau arrested two males (both in their 60s) as part of an investigation into alleged corrupt practices at a public body in Munster, " said a Garda spokesman.

"The males were detained at Henry Street Garda Station under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007, they have both since been released and files are being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. "

The Garda spokesman added that “investigations are ongoing” into the allegations.

When asked for comment, a UL spokeswoman said: “University of Limerick will co-operate fully with any investigation undertaken by An Garda Siochana. UL cannot comment on investigations.”

It is understood the Garda probe is looking into alleged fraud dating back at least a decade and is not linked to more recent governance issues at UL.

Last December, UL had €1.7 million out of €2.5 million in capital funding withheld from the Department of Higher Education over concerns about its financial governance, including recent allegations it had paid twice the market value in acquiring the old Dunnes Stores site in Limerick city centre for €8 million in 2019 and that no independent valuation had been sought prior to the purchase.

These matters have been under investigation by independent auditors KPMG, and the Higher Education Authority, and the Public Accounts Committee.

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