Thursday 29 September 2016

Receiver tells court of forecourt arson threat

Tim Healy

Published 13/10/2015 | 02:30

The receiver's staff found that all high value items, including lottery tickets and cigarettes, had been removed along with a number of computers and other records.
The receiver's staff found that all high value items, including lottery tickets and cigarettes, had been removed along with a number of computers and other records.

A BANK-appointed receiver to a fuel distribution business has faced a threat that a petrol station forecourt would be burned down, an incident in which petrol was allegedly deliberately spilled on the forecourt and a man in a balaclava turning up at the premises, the Commercial Court heard.

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On September 16, Kieran Wallace was appointed receiver to XL Fuels Group Ltd, which operated the filling station and Centra shop on the Kells Road, Oldcastle, Co Meath, by Bank of Ireland which is owed €2.26m by the company.

Since then, Mr Wallace says, despite repeated demands, the company and its directors and accountant have failed to co-operate and deliver up books and records to enable the receiver continue to trade the business as a going concern.

Michael Curran, a director of XL, appears to be using the company's books to trade a rival "phoenix" company, Hph Fuels Ltd, thereby stripping away the customers and goodwill of the firm, Mr Wallace says in an affidavit.

Mr Wallace says he is aware the business employs around 30 full-time staff although, without records, it is difficult to confirm the precise number.

When Mr Wallace's staff went to the filling station on the day of his appointment he says the shutters of the shop were closed by employees and all entrances also closed, preventing access, he says.

The receiver's staff returned the next day with a locksmith and found all high value items, including lottery tickets and cigarettes, had been removed along with a number of computers and other records.

Fuel delivery trucks leased by XL were observed on adjoining land which is owned by Mr Curran's brother Joe, Mr Wallace says. Since then, the trucks have been observed delivering fuel in the locality without any permission from Mr Wallace. While the filling station and shop have re-opened, there has been no trading in the wholesale distribution side of the business, he says.

Mr Wallace is seeking a number of orders requiring the delivery up of books, records, assets of the company as well as orders requiring the directors to provide a statement of affairs and to desist from contacting customers during the receivership. Separate injunction proceedings are also pending.

The case is against company directors Michael Curran and his mother Maureen Curran (80), both from Oldcastle, and the company's accountant and auditor Edmond Cahill, of Edmond Cahill and Co, Kells Business Park.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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