Fianna Fail TD knew about offshore account since the 1980s

 

Mr Denis Foley TD knew since the early 1980s that he held tens of thousands of pounds in an offshore account, he told the Moriarty tribunal yesterday.

Mr Foley said while he did not know his funds were being put offshore when he initially invested with Guinness & Mahon in 1979, he realised it in 1983 on being told the balance on his investment was in sterling.

It also emerged that Mr Foley has been concealing earnings from the Revenue Commissioners since the mid-1960s. Mr Foley started earning untaxed income when he organised bands for the Mount Brandon Hotel in Tralee. In the first year, Mr Foley was paid with a cheque for £480 which went through the hotel's accounts but he was later paid an extra £1,000 a year which he never declared to the Revenue. Mr Foley accumulated money for over a decade without placing it in a bank account. He would convert the money into bank drafts, which he stored in a filing cabinet in his home.

Mr Foley was frequently in the Mount Brandon Hotel and had met the hotel's accountant, Mr Des Traynor, on a number of occasions. One of those encounters occurred some time in 1975 or 1976.

Mr Foley told the tribunal: "He took me by surprise because he said, `What is your financial position? . . . I can get you a good arrangement through Guinness & Mahon if you have money to invest' ".

Mr Foley eventually decided to contact Mr Traynor in 1979 and subsequently visited Guinness and Mahon to see him. "I told him I had £50,000 to invest and I would be looking for the best rate possible." He said Mr Traynor replied "I have a very good one at the moment with KLIC Investments". When Mr Foley received the first statements relating to his investment, he contacted Mr Traynor because he was worried about the fact that the letterheads had been cut off. Mr Traynor said this was done "for security reasons".

Mr Foley subsequently opened a resident account with Guinness & Mahon in 1986, with a cheque for £3,342.05.

After suffering a heart attack in June 1987, he took steps to ensure his daughter's name was joined to the resident account. In November 1990 the account was closed and the sum of £24,005.95 was withdrawn. Mr Traynor had suggested closing the account and transferring the balance to Mr Foley's investment account. He presumed by this Mr Traynor meant it was transferred to KLIC Investments. He never received a statement on this transfer and did not know until the tribunal informed him that it was in a Hamilton Ross account.