Thursday 23 November 2017

Businessman Denis O'Brien says he received threats his 'throat would be slit'

Businessman Denis O'Brien arrives at the Four Courts in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Businessman Denis O'Brien arrives at the Four Courts in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Shane Phelan and Andrew Phelan

Businessman Denis O’Brien has said he received threats that his throat would be slit and that he would be shot in the head.

The media and telecoms businessman told a court in a written submission of the chilling death threats, which he received just weeks after a TD spoke about his banking arrangements with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation in the Dáil.

In papers filed with the High Court, Mr O’Brien said he received an email on May 31, 2015 referring to him and his family.

He said it “expressed the desire that we would die in our sleep that night.”

The affidavit continued: “It also contained the chilling fantasy the sender had about slitting my throat.”

On the same day, Mr O’Brien said an individual who claimed to have been a member of the French Foreign Legion posted under a photograph of him on Facebook: “I’m pretty good with a sniper rifle and this c***’s got a big head.”

A different person then posted a picture of Mr O’Brien with former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes with the comment: “7.62, .50, 5.56…”

Mr O’Brien said he had been advised this was a reference to military grade ammunition.

“I regularly receive nasty hateful emails, but I have never been the subject of anything approaching the level of this,” he said in the affidavit.

“I was fearful for myself and for my family and reported these threats personally to An Garda Síochána on June 5, 2015.”

The submission was disclosed after Mr O’Brien finished giving evidence in his legal action alleging comments in the Dáil by two TDs interfered with a court case he was involved in with RTÉ.

In direct evidence, Mr O’Brien told the court he had received the death threats, but did not get into the detail of them.

“I thought this was probably the most serious,” he told his barrister, Michael Cush SC.

The court heard the threats were made by two people, but Mr O’Brien was not suggesting TDs were in any way involved.

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