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Director ban for auditor with links to Haughey

AN auditor in a company used by the late Charles Haughey's accountant to evade tax has been disqualified for two years from acting a a company director.

Patrick McCann (52) has also been disqualified for the same period from acting as an auditor.

Mr McCann's services were used around 20 years ago by the late Des Traynor for what the Supreme Court described as a "sophisticated and extensive scheme" of tax evasion by then-Taoiseach Charles Haughey and others.

A three-judge Supreme Court yesterday disqualified Mr McCann, a certified public accountant practising as McCann & Associates, following its previous finding that the cumulative effects of his actions as auditor of Kentford Securities Ltd was "very grave".

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) sought the disqualification order over matters between 1988 and 1994 when Mr McCann was an accountant employed by Chartered Secretarial Company (CSC), which provided secretarial services to Kentford, and also had his own accountancy firm.

While Mr McCann was auditor to Kentford, some IR£2.27m passed through Kentford's accounts as part of the Ansbacher secret deposits managed by Mr Traynor.

The High Court in 2006 upheld the ODCE's complaints about Mr McCann's conduct but declined to disqualify him after finding the "irregular and improper conduct'' he "was mixed up in... at the behest of his employer and Mr Traynor" was "a thing of the past''.

It also accepted Mr McCann's evidence he only became aware Kentford had any connection to the Ansbacher accounts from the Moriarty Tribunal, was not part of any scheme to defraud the Revenue and never intended to commit any wrongful act.

Last November, the Supreme Court unanimously allowed the ODCE appeal against the High Court decision after describing as "unduly indulgent" the refusal to disqualify on grounds Mr McCann was considered unlikely to repeat such conduct in the future.

The case had been adjourned to yesterday to decide on the length of a disqualification period.

Irish Independent