Begley profits rise as boss languishes in jail

A fruit and vegetable distributor last year recorded pre-tax profits of almost €4,000 per week while the company’s boss languished in jail.

In March 2011, Paul Begley of Begley Brothers Ltd was jailed for six years for his role in a €1.6m garlic import duty scam.

Mr Begley was jailed after admitting labelling more than 1,000 tonnes of garlic as apples, which have a lower import tax rate.

In January, the Court of Criminal Appeal cut his term to two years, ruling that the landmark sentence was not proportionate to the crime.

Mr Begley, who resigned as a director in Jan 2012, was released from jail in March, and the family-owned firm continued to make profits.

The accounts show that the business recorded pre-tax profits of €203,533 — or €3,914 per week — in Mr Begley’s absence in the year to the end of Nov 26, 2012.

The profit recorded last year represents a 19% drop in pre-tax profits of €252,499 recorded in 2011.

The firm recorded a 22% drop in revenues from €26.1m to €20.5m. New accounts show the fall in revenues and profits is attributable to the business reorganising last year, with trade and other assets transferred to new ventures, in which the group now has 50% interests.

The figures show average staff levels last year fell from 63 to 59, with staff costs rising from €1.69m to €2m. Directors’ remuneration came to €191,017, while non-cash depreciation costs totalled €143,419.

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