Prosecution for alleged tax offences unfair, unjust, and oppressive, claims Michael Lowry

Independent TD Michael Lowry has urged the High Court to stop his trial on alleged tax offences.

His lawyers yesterday argued his prosecution for alleged tax offences was unfair, unjust, fundamentally oppressive, and should be halted.

A Revenue Appeals Commissioner last year found Mr Lowry had no personal income tax liability arising from a €372,000 payment made in August 2002 to an Isle of Man trust account, the High Court was told.

The only outstanding disputed liability is a surcharge corporate tax liability of €2,400 for his firm, Garuda, said counsel Patrick Treacy. On those and other grounds, this prosecution was “unfair, “unjust”, in breach of Mr Lowry’s constitutional rights, “fundamentally oppressive”, and should be halted.

The court heard the €372,000 payment was due to Garuda by a Finnish company, Norpe OY, and, on the direction of Mr Lowry, was paid in to an Isle of Man trust account held by Kevin Phelan.

Also on the direction of Mr Lowry, there was a “self-correction” in 2007 of Garuda accounts to address tax issues concerning that 2002 payment, counsel said.

While that “self-correction” was made in 2007 and not 2002 as Mr Lowry accepted it should have been, it was still made years before these criminal proceedings were brought, said counsel.

Mr Lowry denies filing incorrect income tax returns for 2002. He also denies charges he had connived in the alleged delivery by Garuda of incorrect corporation tax returns for the years ending 2002 and 2006.

The case continues.


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