Thursday 29 June 2017

Claim that Gleeson 'took cash from tills'

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Tim Healy

ACCOUNTANT Patrick Burke has strongly disputed claims by publican Frank Gleeson related to a dispute over the merger of the Mercantile/Capital chains of well-known Dublin pubs, hotels and restaurants.

Mr Burke was responding after Mr Gleeson claimed that he had behaved unethically and unprofessionally.

In reply, Mr Burke said Mr Gleeson made the claim because the legal process provides him with protection "to say what may likely be subsequently leaked to the media."

Meanwhile, in a separate affidavit Mark O'Meara, a shareholder in the merged pub chain, said Frank Gleeson was himself being investigated by the business. He claimed Mr Gleeson "appeared to have been operating an undisclosed practice of taking cash from tills" and charging food and drink bills to the group, in his time as chief executive.

Mr Burke is chief financial officer of EMI-MR Investment which has brought proceedings seeking a €4.6m judgment against Mr Gleeson over loans to him in 2016. Mr O'Meara is one of the principals of Danu Partners, a shareholder in the pub group that includes pubs like Cafe en Seine, Whelans and the George. Mr Gleeson has brought his own proceedings alleging shareholder oppression. The other shareholders strongly deny his claims.

In an affidavit last month, Mr Gleeson said Mr Burke had a "palpable and unashamed conflict of interest" because he acted for both sides during the merger of Mr Gleeson's Mercantile Group and Capital Bars. Both the EMI-MR and Gleeson cases were back before the Commercial Court for mention on Monday when Mr Justice Brian Cregan adjourned them to May.

In his replying affidavit, Mr Burke said he took serious objection to what was a personal and, at times, hysterical attack on his integrity and bona fides without any basis.

Not only were Mr Gleeson's claims untrue but they were carefully designed to draw the court's attention away from the simple issues in the case - namely whether €4.6m is due and owing and whether Mr Gleeson has a genuine defence to that claim.

Mr Burke says he had acted for him in the past but did not advise Mr Gleeson in relation to the EMI-MR loan as he had alleged.

Irish Independent

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