Tuesday 23 January 2018

Former aide to Ahern is hit for over €100,000 as tax defaulter

Cormac McQuinn and Breda Heffernan

A FORMER aide of Bertie Ahern has appeared on the Revenue Commissioner's latest list of tax defaulters for a settlement of more than €100,000.

Businessman and former Fianna Fail fundraiser Des Richardson has been named for under-declaration of income tax and capital gains tax.

Meanwhile, two builders, Joseph McGowan and Thomas Brennan, who were named in the Flood Tribunal for making corrupt payments to disgraced former Fianna Fail minister Ray Burke, have also been listed as defaulters.

And a former Fianna Fail town councillor from Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ciaran Hayden was listed for a settlement of €80,745 for the under-declaration of capital gains tax.

A Revenue Commissioners investigation found that Mr Richardson owed €38,251 in tax and a further €51,529 in interest. On top of these, Mr Richardson has been hit with an additional €19,126 in penalties, bringing the total settlement to €108,906.

Separately, a dissolved company linked to Mr Richardson – Willdover Ltd – was also on the defaulters' list released yesterday, with a determination against it of €141,094.

Mr Richardson told the planning tribunal he had used Willdover for invoicing Fianna Fail.

The businessman was a prominent figure in the long-running Mahon Tribunal into planning matters in Dublin.

A Fianna Fail fundraiser in the early 1990s, he also organised Mr Ahern's annual constituency dinners and was a trustee of the former Taoiseach's Drumcondra headquarters, St Luke's, before it was handed over to the party last year.

According to Mr Ahern, Mr Richardson was the person who organised the first of the alleged "dig-outs" in late 1993, which raised IR£22,500 for Mr Ahern when he was Finance Minister.

Builders

Mr Richardson has challenged as "wholly erroneous" the tribunal's findings that he failed to disclose the source of tens of thousands of euro held in a bank account.

He said he was never asked about the source of the funds in the account – known as the Roevin account – when he appeared at the tribunal.

The tribunal heard that in 1993 funds from a company called Roevin Ireland Ltd were used to purchase a bank draft paid to Mr Ahern.

Mr Richardson did not respond to attempts to contact him yesterday.

Meanwhile, builders Joseph McGowan and Thomas Brennan, whose companies built vast housing estates in Dublin, are both listed with determinations of €400,000 for non-declaration of income tax.

Following a Revenue investigation, it was ruled that William and Michael Brennan, – Thomas's brothers, who share directorships with the two developers – must pay the same amount, bringing the combined settlement to €1.6m.

In 2002, the Flood Tribunal's second interim report found that Joseph McGowan and Thomas Brennan had made payments of £125,000 sterling to Ray Burke.

The former politician was an estate agent in North Dublin in the 1970s and 1980s and sold 1,700 of the developers' houses.

Thomas Brennan said he had "no comment" last night.

Former councillor Ciaran Hayden, listed as a tyre retailer on the defaulter's list, quit Greystones Town Council last November.

He said at the time that it was because he was "extremely disappointed" with the Government's plans to scrap town councils.

A revenue audit found that he owed €54,525 after he had under-declared capital gains tax and also ruled that he should pay a further €26,220 in interest and penalties.

Mr Hayden also said he had "no comment" last night.

Irish Independent

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