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Saturday 20 September 2014

Former FF fundraiser takes tribunal to court over bank claims

Tim Healy

Published 13/12/2012 | 05:00

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A FORMER Fianna Fail fundraiser has brought a legal challenge over the planning tribunal's finding that he failed to disclose the source of IR£39,000 (€49,530) held in a bank account.

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Businessman Des Richardson (pictured) claims the Mahon Tribunal's findings are "wholly erroneous" as he was never asked during examination by counsel to account for the origins of the funds in the account, known as the Roevin Account.

Mr Richardson gave evidence over several days to the tribunal in respect of its investigations into the finances of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

The tribunal has opposed the action which it argues should be rejected on all grounds. The tribunal claims that Mr Richardson failed to make a full and frank disclosure of material and relevant facts when seeking to challenge the tribunal's findings, and that his case should be dismissed.

The tribunal heard that, in 1993, funds from a company called Roevin Ireland Ltd were used to purchase a bank draft paid to Mr Ahern. Mr Richardson was examined extensively about his involvement with Roevin over two days of the tribunal's public sittings.

In High Court proceedings which opened yesterday, Mr Richardson said he wanted to quash two sections of the final report of the Tribunal of Inquiry in Certain Planning Matters and payments concerning him.

The first of the two paragraphs states: "Mr Richardson claimed not to have any knowledge of the source of the IR£39,000 which opened the (Roevin) account in 1992. The tribunal rejected Mr Richardson's evidence in this regard."

Roevin

The second paragraph states: "The tribunal found it incredible that Mr Richardson, who without difficulty appeared able to access the account of Roevin Ireland Ltd on December 22, 1993 and used its funds to obtain a draft payable to himself, was unable to account to the tribunal for the origin of funds in the account."

"The tribunal did not believe Mr Richardson in this regard, and concluded that Mr Richardson, in all probability, knew the reason the account was opened and its purpose, and that he knew the source of the IR£39,000 which initially funded the account. Mr Richardson chose not to disclose this information to the tribunal."

The hearing before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne continues.

Irish Independent

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