Wednesday 11 December 2019

Accountant in MacSharry-related case to appeal against €2.4m award of damages against him

Tim Healy

AN accountant is to appeal against a €2.4m award of damages made against him after a judge found he deliberately deceived three brothers concerning a controversial land deal in Co Sligo.

Kenneth McMoreland has claimed former EU Commissioner Ray MacSharry, his sons Ray and Marc have a liability in relation to the damages but the hearing of his claims against them has been deferred pending the outcome of his Supreme Court appeal.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly, noting today it could take more than three years for Mr McMoreland's appeal to come before the Supreme Court, said the claims against the other third parties would have to be deferred until the appeal was determined.

In those circumstances, the judge said he was removing the case from the Commercial Court - which fast-tracks business disputes. The judge said the case would, following the Supreme Court appeal, have to proceed in the High Court non-jury list.

In the High Court earlier this year, Mr Justice Sean Ryan made an order requiring Mr McMoreland to pay €2.4m, interest and costs to brothers Arthur, Kieran and John Grady and their company TJ Grady Ltd after finding he deliberately deceived them in relation to matters concerning the 2006 sale of the Saehan site in Sligo. A stay was later applied to that order.

Mr Justice Ryan also made an order setting aside the investment deal entered into by the Gradys's company on September 11th 2006. A further order required Mr McMoreland to indemnify the Gradys against any claim by Allied Irish Banks arising from their investment.

The judge noted an agreement had been reached between the plaintiffs and the Sligo accountancy firm, Gilroy Gannon, whom the Gradys had also successfully sued over the deal.

In his third party claims, Mr McMoreland, Mailcoach Road, Sligo, has alleged Mr MacSharry and others approved a sale and sub-sale arrangement for the former Saehan site in Sligo which was not disclosed to the Gradys when they invested in the deal.

Mr McMoreland is seeking a contribution from the third parties over the €2.4m losses which Mr Justice Ryan found were suffered by the Gradys' arising from dealings relating to the Saehan site purchased in

2006 by Foresthaze Developments Ltd, of which Mr MacSharry Senior was chairman.

Mr McMoreland previously secured orders joining the three MacSharry's and four others as third parties to proceedings brought against him and others over the deal. The four others are Gerard Healy c/o Kevinsfort Ltd, Castle Street, Sligo; Damien Torsney, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; and Edward Donaghy and Jacqueline Donaghy, Castletown, Drumcliffe, Co Sligo.

In January last, Mr Justice Ryan found the Gradys suffered losses because Mr McMoreland deliberately deceived them concerning the purchase, involving a secret sub-sale arrangement, of the Seahan site by Foresthaze.

He ruled Mr McMoreland, acting in the ordinary course of business and with the authority of his partners in Gilroy Gannon, induced the Grady brothers by deliberate fraudulent representations to invest €2.4m in Foresthaze Developments Ltd to buy the Saehan site in 2006.

The original promoters/investors of the purchase were also privy to the secret sub-sale arrangement and, for a time, had "a clear expectation" they would get a portion of the net €1.2m gain, he found.

He found Gilroy Gannon knew about the Foresthaze project and the other partners were liable in permitting Mr McMoreland's duality of roles in promoting Foresthaze and advising and misinforming the Gradys as the firm's clients.

The result of the fraud was also to enrich the other investors unjustly because the overpayment by the Gradys was brought back into Foresthaze via "phoney" loans from the various investors, he found.

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