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Restaurateur Bourke hit with reckless trading claim

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Jay Bourke

Jay Bourke

Jay Bourke

HIGH-PROFILE restaurateur and publican Jay Bourke faces being banned from acting as a company director after a liquidator reported him to the business watchdog.

PJ Lynch, the official liquidator of Mr Bourke's failed Shebeen Chic bar in Dublin, has accused him of trading in a "reckless manner" with the intent of defrauding the Revenue Commissioners – a claim strongly denied by the businessman.

The liquidator also indicated in legal filings he would be applying to the High Court to have Mr Bourke, pictured, disqualified from running a company in future.

He has already reported Mr Bourke to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement after investigating the running of the business.

The bar opened in a blaze of publicity in 2008, attracting attention as an "eco-friendly" pub after being fitted out completely with recycled goods.

But it ran into difficulty after a row over the rental of the premises on South Great George's Street.

It eventually closed in 2011 with the loss of 21 jobs and was put into liquidation last year by the Revenue Commissioners over unpaid VAT and PAYE/ PRSI of €92,000.

In papers lodged with the High Court, Mr Lynch claims Mr Bourke has refused to co-operate with the liquidation.

He said Mr Bourke had failed to provide him with the company books, despite several requests, and that the restaurateur gave him an "inaccurate" statement of affairs for the business. Mr Lynch also claims Mr Bourke described him as a "f**king git" and said that "he shouldn't be liquidator of my company".

The allegations have been denied by Mr Bourke, who told the Irish Independent he would contest the claims in court.

The High Court is expected to hear an application from Mr Lynch next week for an order to compel Mr Bourke and a co-director to hand over documents and co-operate with the liquidator. In a letter to Mr Bourke in January, Mr Lynch warned the restaurateur about his co-operation and claimed the business had traded while insolvent.

DEFRAUD

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He also accused Mr Bourke of knowingly carrying on the business of the company in a reckless manner, with the intent to defraud a preferential creditor, the Revenue.

Mr Bourke denied he had traded recklessly and insisted the business had been profitable. He also insisted he had co-operated fully with the liquidator.

Mr Bourke said he had been forcibly evicted from the building due to a rent dispute and some of the company records had been left on the premises.

"It was actually a solvent company and making quite good profits at the time," he said. "We closed the company down and we wanted to do a voluntary liquidation. We weren't allowed do that, so the Revenue moved in."

He also denied calling the liquidator "a f**king git".


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