Tuesday 16 January 2018

Case withdrawn against water meter installer allegedly involved in '€9m-a-year diesel laundering'

Conor Gallagher

THE State has withdrawn its case against a water meter installer accused of involvement in an alleged €9 million-per-year diesel laundering operation.

Company director Paul Haughey (35) was charged in the District Court last year with removing or attempting to remove a prescribed marker from a mineral oil without the consent of the Revenue Commissioners.

The offence, under the Finance Act, was alleged to have happened on September 1, 2011 at Corragarry, Castleblayney Co Monaghan.

A garda alleged at his bail hearing that Mr Haughey of Dundrum Road, Tassagh Keady, Armagh was caught “red-handed” standing on a tanker containing 30,000 litres of diesel, with a potential loss to the exchequer of €15,000. In a search that day the yard had €110,000 litres of diesel representing a potential €55,000 loss to the State.

Gardaí alleged the yard had a capacity of producing 18 million litres of fuel per annum with a total possible loss to the exchequer of €9 million.

The offence carried a maximum fine of €10,000 and sentence of five years in prison on conviction.

Today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions said she was not proceeding with the case and was applying to strike out the charge.

Judge Patricia Ryan agreed to strike out the charge and adjourned the matter until April 24 next when an application for costs will be heard. No reason was given for the strike-out.

A District Court judge had previously deferred a decision on granting legal aid to Mr Haughey after hearing this firm had a three-year contract with Dublin City Council installing water meters in the capital.

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