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Two brothers must provide more records in relation to their wound-up petrol station, High Court rules


The Four Courts

The Four Courts

The Four Courts

Two brothers must provide more records in relation to their wound up petrol station company to a liquidator who has expressed serious concern about how it was run, the High Court ruled.

DMG Energy, a company of Keady, Co Armagh-based Damien and Francis McGleenan,  owned petrol station/convenience stores in Tipperary, Mayo, Roscommon and Donegal.  George Maloney was appointed liquidator to it on November 28, 2013.

The brothers say they have provided Mr Maloney with all the records they can and are strongly disputing allegations of irregularities, the court heard.

In an affidavit, Mr Maloney says the brothers, and a third brother, Joseph, made st£6m settlements in 2009 with the Northern Ireland Assets Recovery Agency (ASA) following an investigation by the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in relation to tax evasion linked with fuel laundering.

SOCA seized a filling station and three residential properties in Belfast in  2011 because of default on the 2009 settlement, he says.

ASA in 2006 had also seized assets valued at €600,000 from Damien McGleenan, he says.

Their company has also been under separate investigations by the Revenue and the Criminal Assets Bureau since June 2013 in connection with alleged fuel laundering and VAT evasion, he says.

In a countrywide investigation in on March 13, 2013, called "Operation Loft", police on both sides of the border carried out a dawn raid on 19 premises in ten counties and froze 30 bank accounts belonging to 20 parties, he says.  Among them was €122,000 in the an account of DMG Energy.

The Revenue has identified a number of irregularities in company records including invoices for the purchase of road diesel from a party who denies having any knowledge of the brothers' firm, Mr Maloney says.

There were also payments for fuel supplies to parties who do not appear to be in the fuel business and who do not hold licences to be in the trade.  Revenue has, as a result of its inquiries, disallowed €1.46m in VAT credits to the company.

Two banks also withdrew banking facilities from the company in 2011 and 2013, Mr Maloney says.  The company did not source fuel from established distributors but from unlicensed entities, he says.  DMG itself has been also been refused a licence.

These matters have given cause for "serious concern" and it is necessary for Mr Maloney to reconstruct company records to establish the actual financial position of the company on the date of liquidation.

Rossa Fanning BL, for the liquidator, said the brothers strongly dispute the claims of irregularities. While these were very serious allegations, they are unproven at this stage, counsel said.

Nick McStay, solicitor for the brothers, said his clients had provided all the information they could and were prepared to provide signed declarations to that effect.   They were also hampered by the fact that certain documents, which they do not have copies of, are in the hands of the Revenue.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan today granted Mr Fanning an order that the brothers provide certain outstanding records, including tax returns, delivery dockets, cash receipts and minutes of board meetings, within 21 days.

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