Michael Lowry case has ‘shades of Father Ted to it’

The Office of the Appeal Commissioner had clearly found Independent TD Michael Lowry misappropriated some €372,000 from his own company in 2002, lawyers for the DPP have told the High Court.

The matter had “shades of Father Ted” to it and the court should cast “a very jaundiced” eye on Mr Lowry’s argument that there was “nothing to see here”, said Remy Farrell, for the DPP.

Mr Lowry, in his continuing High Court case aimed at stopping a criminal trial on tax charges, had asserted, following an Office of the Appeals Commissioners hearing last year, that he has no personal tax liability. Any corporate tax liability was “self-corrected” and the outstanding liability was a “very modest” surcharge of €2,410, said his counsel.

The transaction which gave rise to the criminal prosecution involved a €372,000 payment due to Garuda by Finnish firm Norpe OY, which, on the direction of Mr Lowry, was in 2002 paid into an Isle of Man trust account nominated by accountant Kevin Phelan.

Mr Lowry denies charges of allegedly filing incorrect income tax returns for the year 2002 and of conniving in the alleged delivery by Garuda of incorrect corporation tax returns for the years ending 2002 and 2006.

In submissions, Mr Farrell said the original Revenue assessment was raised on foot of a diversion by Mr Lowry in 2002 of monies due to Garuda for his own use.

While Mr Lowry claimed he had in 2007 self-corrected and self-declared the “very peculiar” 2002 transaction, he “did anything but”, said Mr Farrell.

When Mr Lowry sought to reintroduce the monies to Garuda in 2007, he “knew full well” they were not earned the previous year and effectively sought to “layer” them back into the company.

He “stayed silent” until the Lowry tapes on the transaction came into the public domain and sparked a Revenue investigation.

There was the “clearest evidence” a bogus invoice was generated to cover up what happened in the 2002 transaction and to suggest the money at issue was earned in 2006.

The case continues.


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