Tuesday 23 January 2018

O'Brien to pay costs of Moriarty Tribunal witness

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

BUSINESSMAN Denis O'Brien has told the Moriarty Tribunal that he will pay the legal and travels costs incurred by a Danish telecoms consultant who is due to give evidence at the payments-to-politicians inquiry.

Mr O'Brien, who has previously called for tribunal chairman Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and his legal team to step aside, furnished the inquiry with a letter of indemnity that he has provided to Michael Andersen, a consultant who previously declined to give evidence.

Mr Andersen, the former head of Andersen Management International (AMI), will be fully indemnified against any costs that he might incur if he travels to Dublin to testify but will not receive any payment or fee for giving evidence.

AMI was the lead consultancy retained by the Irish government for the second mobile phone licence competition in 1995. The firm, which has acted in more than 100 telecommunications licence processes worldwide, told the tribunal in 2002 that Mr O'Brien's Esat Digifone -- which was awarded the second mobile phone licence in 1996 -- handed in the best application and was "the right result".

Yesterday Mr O'Brien said that the indemnity was given by him to Mr Andersen for the "sole purpose" of ensuring that the Dane comes to Dublin to give evidence.

"Mr Andersen is the single most important witness in relation to the awarding of Ireland's second mobile phone licence, but the tribunal never wanted to hear his evidence," Mr O'Brien said in a statement yesterday.

"The tribunal went so far as to oppose my High Court and Supreme Court actions to seek to have him called.


"I have given Mr Andersen an indemnity against costs that he might incur if he comes to Dublin to give evidence. I have every right to take any action in order to clear my name.

"As the tribunal enters its 14th year, I find it incredible that such a vital and important witness has still not yet been given a date by the Moriarty Tribunal as to when his evidence will be heard."

Mr Andersen, who is now chief executive of the Andersen Advisory Group, only recently confirmed that he is willing to travel to Dublin.

Irish Independent

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