Saturday 21 September 2019

Garda probe into missing €1.8m from security firm

'Sources said the allegation relates to the member, who has only been with the Garda for less than one year, being in unlawful possession of gun components outside of the organisation'. Stock photo: PA Archive/PA Images
'Sources said the allegation relates to the member, who has only been with the Garda for less than one year, being in unlawful possession of gun components outside of the organisation'. Stock photo: PA Archive/PA Images

Aodhan O’Faolain and Ray Managh

A criminal investigation is being conducted into a firm that provided cash in transit and other security services and which has an estimated deficit of €1.8m in its client account, the High Court has heard.

The Garda probe concerns the affairs of Business Mobile Security Services Ltd (BMSS), the holding company of security firm Senaca. As well as providing a cash in transit service, the firm supplied security personnel to Shell, during the construction of a highly controversial gas pipeline and refinery at Bellanaboy in Co Mayo some years ago.

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Last month, experienced insolvency practitioner Joe Walsh of JW Accountants was appointed as provisional liquidator of the company, which sought to be wound up due to cashflow difficulties.

Mr Justice Senan Allen confirmed Mr Walsh as the firm’s official liquidator after being satisfied that the group is “grossly insolvent”.

Mr Walsh, represented in court by Stephen Brady Bl, said that his investigations into the company’s affairs found a deficit of approximately €1.8m in the firm’s client account.

The company, with a registered address at Tougher Business Park, Newhall, Naas, Co Kildare, had originally acknowledged a deficit of €1m in the client account.

The liquidator claimed that clients’ money had been used to fund the company, counsel said.

Mr Brady said that 68 customers have made contact with the provisional liquidator seeking the return of cash. The claims from those customers total €2.7m.

The Revenue Commissioners are owed over €670,000 by the company, Mr Brady said.

Other clients of the company who claim they are owed money include the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Horse Racing Ireland. Lawyers acting for the various creditors have entered submissions on how their claims should be treated, the court heard.

Ross Gorman, counsel for the company, said that the firm’s chief operations manager, Jim Farrell, had admitted that clients’ monies had been used to shore up the company and that he had apologised.

Judge Allen heard there was now a criminal investigation following complaints to the Gardai. 

The liquidator had asked for an explanation from the firm’s former directors, Jim Farrell and his wife Grainne Farrell, about three payments totalling €62,000 out of the company shortly before it sought to go into liquidation. 

Mr Walsh seeks to have the Farrells examined before the court about payments out.

Mr Farrell was given a month by the judge to provide a sworn statement and Mr Justice Allen adjourned the matter to a date in October.

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