Monday 23 October 2017

Businessman denies giving Dunlop IR£25,000

Tim Healy

BUSINESSMAN Jim Kennedy denies that he gave IR£25,000 (€31,750) to former lobbyist Frank Dunlop in order to buy councillors' votes for a rezoning in 1992.

Gibraltar-based Mr Kennedy attended the High Court yesterday, where he is to give evidence in his fight against unjust-enrichment proceedings being brought by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) against Jackson Way Properties Ltd (JWPL) over the rezoning of 17 acres of farmland in Carrickmines, south Dublin.

Mr Kennedy and solicitor John Caldwell are the alleged beneficial owners of JWPL.

Dunlop, who was recently released from an 18-month prison sentence for corruption in relation to the Carrickmines rezoning, also attended the court, where he is to give evidence on behalf of CAB.

He will say that he used IR£25,000 given to him by Mr Kennedy to lobby for rezoning of the Carrickmines land, the court heard. Dunlop will also testify that he was promised a "success fee" of IR£100,000 if rezoning of the farmland to industrial use was obtained.

It took a further five years before the rezoning was passed in 1997. Dunlop will allege that by that stage, Mr Kennedy had promised him a IR£250,000 success fee.

Mr Kennedy also denies this allegation.

Outlining CAB's case, Diarmuid McGuinness SC said the value of the land increased to €6.6m when it was rezoned in 1997.

By 2005, before CAB initiated unjust-enrichment proceedings against JWPL, the land was estimated to be worth €53m. Today, it is worth an estimated €5.7m, counsel said.

CAB is claiming that the total unjust enrichment by JWPL is around €10m -- comprising the €5.7m current value of the 17 acres and another €4.25m, which a valuer estimated was the amount the company received over and above a €12.8m arbitration award made to it following the compulsory purchase, for the south-eastern motorway, of an adjoining 20 acres that JWPL owned.

Had the 17 acres not been rezoned, the value of the motorway land would not have been €12.8m, it is claimed.

Earlier, Mr McGuinness said the case was being brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

CAB is seeking a ruling that JWPL pays to the State the amount of corrupt enrichment as on the day of the court decision.


Counsel said it is alleged that in 1991, the owner of 108 acres at Carrickmines sold the land to a company called Paisley Park Ltd for IR£700,000, following approaches to the then owner by a man called Sam Stanley, acting on behalf of Paisley Park.

Mr Stanley had a 20pc stake in Paisley while Mr Kennedy and Mr Caldwell, the solicitor, owned the rest.

Dunlop will give evidence that Mr Kennedy approached him to lobby councillors to get the land rezoned and that he "collected" a IR£25,000 "fund" to pay councillors, with the promise of a IR£100,000 success fee, counsel said.

Dunlop will say he paid IR£3,000 to two councillors who moved the rezoning, which was ultimately defeated.

Seven years later, by which time Paisley Park had gone into liquidation and been sold to JWPL, Mr Kennedy again approached Dunlop to lobby once more for rezoning, although this time the land involved was much smaller because the compulsory purchase order for the motorway had split it into a large and small holding, counsel said.

This time, it was agreed the success fee would be IR£250,000 but no "fund" was provided.

Dunlop will say he made two payments to then councillor Liam Cosgrave Jnr of IR£2,500 and IR£4,500 in 1997. He will also say he paid Cllr Tony Fox (Fianna Fail) IR£1,250 and IR£3,750.

The councillors have always claimed that these were not bribes but political donations, counsel said.

Mr Kennedy has denied that he authorised corruption or the payment of money for that purpose between 1992 and 1997.

Counsel for JWPL, Martin Hayden, told the court his client would also deny that any IR£25,000 payment was given to Dunlop.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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