Tuesday 10 December 2019

The Punt: Gone phishing with 'IDA' email

IDA boss Martin Shanahan
IDA boss Martin Shanahan
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

You know you have arrived when you are the subject of a so- called phishing scam.

At the start of the month IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan became an unlikely "viral sensation" (its nowhere near as unpleasant as it sounds) following an interview on CNBC Squawk Box in the US. The interview was reposted across the internet as viewers gawped at presenter Joe Kernan's bizarre interrogation of the new IDA boss. The US interviewer seemed unable to comprehend that Ireland is no longer part of the UK and actually uses the euro.

Fast forward to yesterday and the Punt received a very odd-looking email, claiming to be from the IDA and headlined "Investment Opportunities in Ireland".

The vaguely professional looking email message suggested the IDA could fulfil our investment needs - whether it was for low risk returns or something a bit racier. All we had to the Punt might like to click on a couple of likely-Looking web links - we declined.

When we checked with the IDA it confirmed the email had nothing to do with them and is investigating the matter.

Now it may be a coincidence, but round here we can't help wondering whether the apparently rogue email we received yesterday was inspired by the enhanced profile of the IDA thanks to the half a million viewers and counting who have seen Martin Shanahan's Squawk Box special.

Still, it makes a change from dodgy dictators and exiled generals.

Barrett flying under the radar

Switzerland-based Irish businessman Vincent Barrett has a prodigious roll of past and current directorships in Ireland.

But readers might remember Barrett's involvement in the carving up of solicitor Noel Smyth's €167m Alburn Real Estate Capital UK property empire.

Barrett owned Pearsanta, a firm that had bought £11m of the total debt linked to Alburn Real Estate Capital UK in 2012 at a fraction of its face value. Pearsanta had taken legal action to have its own nominee appointed to oversee the sell-off of Alburn's assets.

More recently, the Punt sees that a relatively small amount of money - just under €50,000 - has been injected into Hexagon Jets, an Ireland-based provider of non-scheduled air transport services.

Barrett and Dublin-based Neil Barrett are directors of the company, which is listed as being owned by CRL Nominees. Company filings show that a director of CRL Nominees is Neil Barrett.

The Punt hasn't been able to find out what Vincent Barrett may have been up to more recently, but suspects that's exactly the way he'd like it.

New Ireland India ties

Nilakanthi Ford has recently taken the reins at the Ireland India Business Association where she is now chairwoman. The passing of the baton occurred at the society's recent annual lunch at the Shelbourne.

The IIBA is now the leading representative business and networking organisation in Ireland for companies interested in the Indian market and vice versa. As a member-driven non-profit body, the IIBA facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration between both business communities. It has chapters in Dublin and Cork plus a chapter in Mumbai (the city the Punt was taught to call Bombay) and one in Delhi due to open in 2015.

Nilakanthi Ford, a director for Europe and Asia for KFV Consulting, appears to be something of an accomplished networker. She has worked in business, leadership, safety and culture development for 30 years and thrived in international networks including Women in Business in London where she became chairwoman.

She is also an optimist and told members last week that relations between the two countries are improving even if trade remains relatively small.

"Business is all about timing. Right place, right time. As Ireland's economy grows, its horizons are broadening. India may not be too far distant after all," she said. "The appointment of the new Indian government under Narendra Modi is demonstrating that India is open for business."

Irish Independent

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