Sunday 22 October 2017

Mystery remains over Electric Picnic ticket cash, court told

John Reynolds: outside court
John Reynolds: outside court

Tim Healy

MORE than €500,000 was paid to the Electric Picnic festival operating firm for the benefit of members of its majority shareholding company, music promoter John Reynolds has claimed in court.

The €500,000 payments remain "entirely unexplained", Reynolds told the Commercial Court, alleging shareholder oppression. He has also alleged payments were due to the festival operating company – EP Republic Ltd – from the sale of Electric Picnic tickets via Ticketmaster. But he said they were being claimed by members of the majority shareholding company, Festival Republic Dublin Ltd (FRD), in breach of a shareholders agreement.

Those alleged payments date back to 2009 but he only discovered them in 2012, Mr Reynolds claims.

He also alleged management decisions made by Melvin Benn of FRD relating to the 2012 and 2013 Electric Picnics were damaging to POD Music Ltd, the 100pc shareholder of EP Republic Ltd but were to the benefit of the FRD Group.

FRD denied shareholder oppression and alleged Mr Reynolds decided he did not want the Picnic to proceed in 2013. In an affidavit, Mr Benn said no decision has ever been taken by FRD in relation to Electric Picnic since 2009 that had any other purpose but to benefit EP Festival Ltd.

PAYMENT

He also described as "false and misleading" the claims related to the alleged €500,000 payment. Affidavits from Mr Reynolds and Mr Benn were before Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday when he was asked to decide whether the issue of liability should be first determined, in the case brought by POD Music Ltd against FRD.

The judge ruled the liability issue should be decided first, saying it would achieve efficiencies in terms of costs and court time, and urged the parties to resolve their differences in advance of a full court hearing.

Mr Reynolds alleges Mr Benn had told him via email that unless they got Blur to perform they had "nowhere to go with the Picnic and I will be recommending not to go ahead".

In opposing the claims, FRD alleges Mr Reynolds had been engaging in a deliberately obstructive pattern of behaviour and was seeking to have his shares bought out at "grossly inflated prices".

Irish Independent

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