News Courts

Sunday 11 December 2016

Ex-CEO threatens blackmail over €135,000, court told

Ray Managh

Published 20/09/2016 | 02:30

Judge O’Regan restrained Mr McGrath from threatening, approaching or communicating with any official of Madcalm or its clients (Stock photo)
Judge O’Regan restrained Mr McGrath from threatening, approaching or communicating with any official of Madcalm or its clients (Stock photo)

A former chief executive in a consultancy marketing firm has threatened to expose the names, addresses and bank details of customers of "the largest mobile phone company in the State" unless he is paid €135,000, the High Court was told yesterday.

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Ex-CEO Seán McGrath allegedly told his former employer, Madcalm Limited, of Monksland, Athlone, Co Roscommon, that "you don't want to f**k with me on this," Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan heard.

In an affidavit read to the court, Ryan Baird, a company director with Madcalm, said Mr McGrath warned him at a meeting that he had data files on the phone company's customers and already had a third party lined up to put them out there.

"If you don't pay me the money, I will f**k you guys and if you try to go to anyone else about this I will f**k you," Mr Baird claimed that Mr McGrath told him before getting up and leaving the meeting.

Barrister Brian Conroy, counsel for Madcalm, obtained injunctions restraining Mr McGrath, who was not on notice or represented in court, from disseminating by any means to any third parties the confidential information that he claimed he would distribute to others.

He was allowed to serve Mr McGrath notice of the court's order via email.

Judge O'Regan also restrained Mr McGrath from threatening, approaching or communicating with any official of Madcalm or its clients.

Mr Baird told the court that Sean McGrath had been made a director, CEO and 20pc shareholder in October 2011.

But three years later differences of opinion led to his exit from the company. He was paid €65,000. Mr McGrath contacted Mr Baird on August 23 last and arranged a meeting at which he said he valued his worth to Madcalm at €200,000 but had been paid only €65,000. He demanded a further €135,000.

Mr Baird said that when he told Mr McGrath he was not comfortable to have any discussion with him for additional money, Mr McGrath told him: "Well you need to be because I can ruin you guys. You don't want to f**k with me on this."

Mr Conroy told the judge that Mr McGrath texted Mr Baird, telling him he could be engaged on a consultancy basis for 18 payments of €7,500 (€135,000), with a first payment due in his account by today, September 20.

To assist with a marketing campaign in 2013, Madcalm had been permitted by the largest mobile phone company in the State to copy certain information in relation to customers of that company. Through an administrative error, the files included personal bank account details of those customers.

Mr Baird said: "It is quite conceivable that it could destroy Madcalm, given that he has threatened to disclose the information immediately if he is not paid the first instalment on Tuesday, 20 September."

Irish Independent

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