Friday 17 November 2017

Lowry's €1m case puts spotlight on Moriarty legal bill

Michael Lowry: currently being sued by his accountants.
Michael Lowry: currently being sued by his accountants.

Fionnan Sheahan and Dearbhail McDonald

A LEGAL action being taken against Independent TD Michael Lowry will put pressure on the Moriarty Tribunal to decide upon awarding costs to witnesses and third parties.

The former Communications Minister is being sued by his accountants for a €1m bill, arising from work done for him at the Tribunal. But the ex-Fine Gael cabinet minister has yet to be told if his costs will be covered by the Tribunal – two years after it issued its final report.

No determination has been made on legal costs by the Tribunal, which could top €200m.

Mr Lowry has had legal proceedings initiated against him by BBT Chartered Accountants.

But Mr Lowry is believed to have been waiting for a decision on his costs to settle his bill.

Both Mr Lowry and BBT have made separate applications to the Tribunal for fees.

The sum owed by Mr Lowry to BBT is understood to be around €1.3 to €1.4m. The final report of the Moriarty Tribunal was published on March 22, 2012.

The tribunal investigated links between Mr Lowry and businessman Denis O'Brien over the awarding of the 1995 mobile phone licence to Esat.

A number of parties have lodged their legal costs applications with the Tribunal, chaired by High Court judge Mr Justice Michael Moriarty.

By last summer, almost €2m in third-party legal costs had been received by the Tribunal, but no determination has been made on costs.

Mr Lowry was a witness at the Tribunal since it began in 1997 to its final report in 2011.

This is the third time in less than two years that BBT has sued Mr Lowry.

The chartered accountants first lodged debt proceedings against Mr Lowry on May 24, 2011.

The company is understood to have done a lot of accountancy work for Mr Lowry in the early stages of the Tribunal.

Irish Independent

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