Friday 23 March 2018

'Untrue and outrageous allegations' - lawyers for businessman accused of threat to release Vodafone mobile phone details in 24 hours unless paid €135k

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Lawyers for a businessman accused of threatening to publicly divulge the names, addresses and bank details of Vodafone customers unless paid €135,000, told the High Court today the allegation was “untrue and outrageous.”

Barrister Declan Murphy said the claim made by a consultancy marketing firm against its former chief executive, Sean McGrath, was one of extortion and had been publicised in a newspaper as blackmail.

Mr Murphy said Mr McGrath had complied with interim court orders restraining any publication of details and would later seek to have the court orders discharged on the grounds of falsehood…orders that should never have been sought or granted

“This is a case which came into court on Monday and in which very serious allegations have been made against my client and which have been publicised in newspapers,” he said.

He told Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan his client had no confidential information of the kind suggested.  Mr McGrath had been traduced and wished to set out the background of the parting of the ways with his former company Madcalm Ltd, Monksland, Athlone, Co Roscommon.

Mr Brian Conroy, counsel for Madcalm, said interim orders had been granted earlier in the week and he would be seeking an interlocutory injunction today.

At Monday’s ex-parte hearing it was alleged that McGrath, the former chief executive of consultancy marketing firm, Madcalm, had threatened to publicly divulge the names, addresses and bank details of Vodafone customers.

It was alleged that during a conversation with Madcalm director Ryan Baird he had valued, on his leaving the company, his worth at  €200,000 but had received only €65,000 under an exit agreement and wanted the remaining €135,000.

Baird told the court McGrath had said to him: “You don’t want to fuck with me on this.  If you don’t pay me the money I will fuck you guys and if you try to go to anyone else about this I will fuck you.”

Mr Murphy, who appeared with Dylan Macauley Solicitors, said his client was stated to have shown Mr Baird a picture on his phone depicting computer details he allegedly held and threatened to divulge.

Judge O’Regan said that as she understood matters Mr McGrath was stating he had no confidential information belonging to the company. Mr Murphy said Mr McGrath was prepared to make his phone available for analysis by a suitably expert firm.  There would be a clear contest of fact in the case.

The proceedings were adjourned to the first week of the new law term to allow Mr McGrath swear an affidavit setting out his evidence with time for Madcalm director Ryan Baird to provide a replying affidavit.

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