Court appoints liquidator to ETIC Solutions
Published 13/06/2011 | 05:00
THE High Court has appointed a provisional liquidator to a Donegal company under investigation on both sides of the Border.
At a vacation sitting of the High Court on Saturday, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan appointed Declan McDonald of PWC as provisional liquidator to ETIC Solutions Ltd.
The court heard that ETIC, a business and management consultancy with a registered address at Ballybofey, Co Donegal, "operated in a fraudulent manner akin to a Ponzi scheme", which had affected hundreds of investors all over Ireland.
ETIC's directors are Francois De Dietrich, who ran several businesses in Co Donegal, and his wife Severine.
The court heard that the company ceased trading late last year and both directors have left Ireland and are believed to be somewhere in France.
The court also heard that police on both sides of the border were investigating the firm, and authorities in Northern Ireland have issued an arrest warrant for Mr De Dietrich, who is also known as 'Swanky Franky'.
The petition to have the company wound up was brought on behalf of Edward Doherty, Director of P&E Doherty of Duncreggan Road, Derry, who claims that he is owed more than €610,000 by ETIC.
On Saturday, the judge said he was satisfied to appoint Mr McDonald as provisional liquidator. While he was mindful that the application was made ex-parte, he was satisfied that "the company is insolvent" and that there "are strong grounds to suspect that serious irregularities have taken place within the company".
The court also made an order freezing the assets of both ETIC, its directors and two other companies, Palladium Investments Ltd and XCEL Financial Services Ltd.
Mr McDonald sought the freezing order because he "understood that substantial amounts of money may have been moved" by ETIC to bank accounts of other companies.
He also told the court he understood ETIC had €5.5m in a bank account in Co Donegal and £4m in Northern Ireland. Gary McCarthy, SC, for Mr Doherty, said the appointment of a provisional liquidator was being made to prevent any one creditor from getting priority over another.