Thursday 23 November 2017

Former Vodafone exec to face extra deception charges over €2m theft

Niall Barron Photo: Collins Courts.
Niall Barron Photo: Collins Courts.

Tom Tuite

ADDITIONAL charges have been brought against a former senior executive at Vodafone Ireland who is accused of stealing almost €2 million from the company over a four-year period.

Today, 13 counts of deception were put to the Niall Barron, who had previously held the position of head of corporate financial services at the telecoms company. He was granted bail while prosecutors prepare evidence they intend to use for his trial.

The 40-year-old, who has an address at Ard na Cuan in Wexford Town, had first appeared at Dublin District Court in July to face 42 charges under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Detective Stephen Niland, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, had then said the accused made no reply to those charges.

It is alleged those offences occurred at Vodafone's HQ in Leopardstown in Co. Dublin from 2003 until 2007.

Originally he faced one charge of attempted theft and two for attempted deception; the remaining counts were split between theft of various sums totalling €1,983,000 from the company, and deception by inducing Vodafone to make payments to named business entities, for his own gain.

Today, Mr Barron made his second appearance at the district court where Judge Anthony Halpin heard that there were 13 new charges. Det-Gda Niland said that the accused, “made no reply after caution”.

The fresh deception charges, under Section Six of the Theft and Fraud Act, are for allegedly inducing Vodafone Ireland to pay various sums to named business entities, from 2003 until 2006.

The DPP has directed trial on indictment meaning the case will forward for trial to the Circuit Court once the book of evidence has been completed.

Defence solicitor John Bermingham told Judge Halpin that his client was “anxious to move matters along” and there was consent to a six-week adjournment.

The accused was remanded on bail and ordered to appear again on October 14 next when it is expected he will be served with a book of evidence and returned for trial.

Dressed in a grey suit, he remained silent during the proceedings today and has not yet indicated how he will plead.

At his first hearing in July, bail had been set in Mr Barron's own bond of €1,000 and he was ordered to sign on every Tuesday and Friday at Wexford Garda station, to notify gardai if he is changes address and not to apply for any new travel documents.

A second person was also charged on July 31 last and is due back in court later this month.

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