Business Technology

Sunday 31 August 2014

Dublin City Council’s ‘free wifi’ hotspot provider files for bankruptcy

Adrian Weckler

Published 07/07/2014 | 16:36

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Pictured at the launch of Dublin City Councils free public WiFi service are bloggers Aaron McNicholas with Emer Collwell and David O'Keeffe. The service is provided free to the council by the Spanish company GOWEX.  Picture Jason Clarke Photography.
Pictured at the launch of Dublin City Councils free public WiFi service are bloggers Aaron McNicholas with Emer Collwell and David O'Keeffe. The service is provided free to the council by the Spanish company GOWEX. Picture Jason Clarke Photography.

Dublin City Council’s ‘free wifi’ hotspot provider has filed for bankruptcy.

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Gowex, with a corporate headquarters in Spain, set up multiple free wifi hotspots around the capital last year as part of Dublin City Council’s ‘Digital Master Plan’ to attract tourists and encourage digital activity.

However, the company’s chief executive, Jenaro Garcia, has admitted to filing fictitious financial accounts for the last four years.

A spokesman for Dublin City Council was unavailable for comment on the matter. The service is available in parts of Dublin 1 and Dublin 2. It provides a 0.5Mbs download service free, with up to 6Mbs available for a monthly tariff.

“I made a voluntary confession in court,” said Mr Garcia on his Twitter feed. “I want to collaborate with justice. I will face the consequences.” The message followed an earlier note conveying an apology “to everybody. I am truly sorry.”

A spokesman for the company said that it had learned of the false accounting too late.

“The financial accounts of the company for the last four years, at least, do not show a full and fair view of the company’s situation,” said the spokesman a statement.

Earlier this month, the company had criticised a report from US financial research firm Gotham that identified the telecom firm’s financial irregularities.

It said that Gotham’s report “mixed lies with facts.” The company’s shares, which have been frozen since July 3rd, remain suspended in Madrid. It has a market value of €573 million.

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