Director ‘syphoned off’ €960k

A man who syphoned off nearly €1m from his business PayPal account to his own bank account has been disqualified by the High Court from acting as a company director for five years.

Alan Barrett, aged 38, a director of wound-up online event registration website Eventelephant, had deprived charities and event organisers of hard-earned income “which the court cannot acknowledge sufficiently through its words”, said Mr Justice Tony O’Connor.

Mr Barrett, of White Ash, Ashbourne, Co Meath, was joint owner of the company, which operated a self-service online event registration website allowing customers to use the site to create their own web pages to advertise and sell tickets.

Eventelephant earned commission from processing payments for the tickets. Along with charities, its users included high-profile clients like Arsenal and Newcastle football clubs and British Airways.

The judge pointed out the software developed for the company should have been designed to direct payments to a trust account or to the account of the event organiser. But the €967,276 which was “syphoned off” by Mr Barrett instead went into a PayPal account he controlled and then on to his own bank account, he said.

The judge ruled that while no allegation of dishonesty was made against Mr Barrett’s co-director, Ron Downey, 69, a UK citizen, he would accede to an application from the liquidators of the company to impose sanction on him too.

He ordered Mr Downey be restricted from involvement in a company for five years unless such a firm has a share capital of not less than €500,000 if it is a public liability company, or €100,000 in the case of any other company.

In relation to Mr Barrett, the judge said he had not disputed any of the facts asserted by the liquidators.


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