Thursday 22 March 2018

Revenue pursuit of Lowry's firm looks set to end

Judge declines to deal with tax prosecution because summons served at wrong address

Michael Lowry TD pictured at Thurles Court in Co Tipperary. Picture Dylan Vaughan.
Michael Lowry TD pictured at Thurles Court in Co Tipperary. Picture Dylan Vaughan.

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

A BOTCHED Revenue Commissioner prosecution of a company owned by Independent TD Michael Lowry is unlikely to be restarted, the Sunday Independent has learnt.

On Friday, a judge declined to deal with a Revenue prosecution brought against the company because a court summons was served at an out-of-date address.

But because of a statute of limitations on such matters and given one of the charges dates back as far as 2002, Mr Lowry is unlikely to face further prosecution on this matter.

However, the Tipperary North TD is facing separate personal charges for filing incorrect tax returns in the Nenagh Circuit Criminal Court in June.

The Sunday Independent understands that the initial summons was sent to an address at which Mr Lowry's business was no longer registered.

The company operating at that address, which no longer represents Mr Lowry, sent the summons back to Revenue, informing them of their mistake.

Some time later, Mr Lowry and his legal team, "out of the blue", received a summons to appear in court.

Following the publication of the Lowry Tapes last year in this newspaper, Mr Lowry's home in Holycross in Tipperary was raided by gardai in July as was a separate business premises in Dublin.

A spokeswoman for Revenue said that it is precluded under legislation from commenting on the case and Mr Lowry was not available for comment.

On Friday, Judge John O'Neill ruled he was making "no order" in relation to criminal proceedings against Garuda Ltd, a refrigeration company owned by Mr Lowry.

The company trades under the name of Streamline Enterprises.

The prosecution at Dublin District Court had been taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the Revenue Commissioners.

The firm had its registered offices at the Gables, Torquay Road, Foxrock, Dublin, but recently, after 17 years, it had changed its registered office address to Thurles, Co Tipperary. It was facing two charges relating to the the filing of incorrect information and incorrect accounts, on or about December 22, 2003, in relation to the company's corporation tax for 2002, contrary to section 1078 (2)(a) and (3) of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, as amended by section 211 of the Finance Act, 1999.

Summons were issued by Dublin District Court on December 10 last and served by a garda at the company's accountants in Foxrock on January 16.

By then, Garuda Ltd had changed its registered office to Thurles, in Co Tipperary but that information was not updated on the CRO's website until January 14.

Mr McQuade, for Garuda Ltd, had argued that there were issues in relation to jurisdiction as the summons were issued by a court in Dublin not in Tipperary.

Counsel for Revenue had said the Foxrock address had been Garuda Ltd's registered office for 17 years, until it was changed in January. It was still their registered address on December 10 when the summonses were initially applied for, she had also said.

In his ruling, Judge O'Neill said the summons had been served at the company's previous registered address and he held that the court did not have jurisdiction to deal with the case.

Sunday Independent

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