Man `unaware' of failure to get tax amnesty


A Dublin business consultant whose Mercedes car was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff told the High Court yesterday he was unaware for three years that his effort to avail of a tax amnesty had been unsuccessful.

Mr Peter Bolger (44), of Glendown Lawn, Templeogue, Dublin, was being cross-examined by Mr Donal O'Donnell SC, for the Criminal Assets Bureau, in a case relating to a dispute over the ownership of the Mercedes.

Mr Bolger was arrested under the Drug Trafficking Act by Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) officers at Dublin Airport last September. He was later released. On the same occasion the car was seized by the sheriff, Mr John Fitzpatrick.

The car is registered in the name of Louisville Ltd, a company of which Mr Bolger is a director. Louisville claims to own the car. The CAB alleges the Mercedes is owned by Mr Bolger. It claims the car was seized on the CAB's behalf in part-settlement of a £141,000 tax bill levied by the Revenue Commissioners on Mr Bolger. The car is valued at £23,000.

In court yesterday, Mr Bolger agreed he had received a tax demand dating back to 1978. He said he had been in England from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. In 1994 he had asked his English solicitor to avail of a tax amnesty in Ireland in respect of all preceding liabilities. Two cheques were sent on his behalf by his then solicitors, Mr Bolger said.

Mr O'Donnell said payment on both cheques was subsequently stopped. Mr Bolger said that, between 1994 and 1997, he did not know the payments had not been accepted.

Mr O'Donnell asked whether the English solicitors, in that period, had communicated to him that the cheques had been countermanded. Mr Bolger said he understood the solicitor firm found itself under pressure from the Law Society although not about his affairs. After that, he did not deal with them.

He said he received a number of files but did not get a file relating to his application for tax amnesty. Later, in the other files, he had found correspondence from the Revenue in relation to his cheques.

Mr Bolger said he did not believe the Criminal Assets Bureau was the relevant authority to collect this money. He would be happy to write to the Inspector of Taxes and invite him to discuss the matter. He believed his solicitor had written to the CAB in relation to the demand.

Mr Jason Duffy, a car salesman, said Mr Bolger had bought a Mercedes car from him in August 1996. He said Mr Bolger had traded in another Mercedes in part-exchange.

The hearing continues today.