Business Irish

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Convicted fraudster fights liquidator in €3.8m charity cash case

  • Ammado founder wants €3.8m freezing order lifted

  • Conlon to fight liquidator in charity cash case

Ammado founder Peter Conlon. Picture: Fergal Phillips/The Sunday Times
Ammado founder Peter Conlon. Picture: Fergal Phillips/The Sunday Times
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A convicted fraudster is contesting legal proceedings in which it is alleged €3.8m in charitable donations made through his firm were misappropriated.

Ammado founder Peter Conlon pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was jailed in Switzerland last year after almost €4m intended for charities was used to fund his technology company.

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But in an affidavit filed with the High Court this week, Conlon (65) said the judge who heard the case in Zurich said he'd made no personal gain.

In court yesterday, Conlon indicated he intends to contest proceedings brought by Myles Kirby, the Revenue-appointed liquidator of his collapsed charities fundraising service Pembroke Dynamic Internet Services Ltd.

The Dublin-based IT service provider was wound up in January 2018 after failing to pay €400,000 owed to the taxman.

Mr Kirby has been investigating the affairs of the company and secured temporary orders freezing Mr Conlon's assets below a value of €3.8m.

The liquidator is seeking an order that Conlon be made personally liable for the company's debts.

Representing himself, Conlon yesterday told Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds he wanted the court to lift the freezing order.

However, Rossa Fanning SC, for the liquidator, said he could not consent to this.

"There are serious concerns about what has occurred here," he said.

Conlon claimed he had been "restricted" in his efforts to file a defence as he no longer had access to company emails as they had been "taken down" by Amazon and Google.

He also alleged that the liquidator "unlawfully" accessed his emails, a claim expected to be disputed by Mr Kirby.

Conlon told the judge he wanted the court to make an order giving him access to certain emails. "It is not an issue for Mr Kirby. It is an issue of me being able to get access to group records from Amazon and Google," he said.

The judge said she could not make any orders without a proper application being made setting out the reliefs sought.

Conlon also criticised the serving of documents on him in an online dropbox.

But the criticism was rejected by Mr Fanning, who said one out of 89 documents, an affidavit of service, had been omitted in error. The omission was later rectified, counsel said.

Mr Fanning said that as Conlon was no longer incarcerated and able to attend court, directions could be made ahead of fixing a date for a hearing of the case.

Ms Justice Reynolds adjourned the matter for seven weeks to allow Mr Kirby to file points of claim and Conlon to file a response.

The court has previously heard investigations by Mr Kirby discovered several charities have not received some €3.8m donated to them via Pembroke Dynamic's service.

Leitrim-born Conlon, with an address in Ballsbridge, Dublin, was jailed in Switzerland last November after he pleaded guilty to embezzlement. He was jailed for four years, with three suspended.

However, as he had already spent a year in prison before the trial, he was released on December 22.

Conlon says he was put under severe mental pressure to confess and that he only did so after he was held in 23-hour lock-up for nearly a year.

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