‘ML’ on fax not Lowry initials, says O’Brien

BUSINESSMAN Denis O’Brien has suggested that there are several possible explanations why there was a controversial reference to an “ML” in a fax relating to his takeover of Doncaster Rovers Football Club in 1998.

The Moriarty Tribunal is probing whether the letters are a reference to the initials of former Fine Gael minister Michael Lowry and whether the Independent TD for Tipperary North was involved in the Doncaster deal after his name was linked to the club in a number of documents.

However, both Mr O’Brien and Mr Lowry firmly reject any suggestion that the latter had any beneficial role in the acquisition of the English club.

Mr O’Brien revealed yesterday that he last week ordered his own inquiries.

As a result, he believed “ML” was a reference to Doncaster-based property developer, Mick Lloyd. He was informed that Mr Lloyd had a number of dealings with the author of the fax, Kevin Phelan.

The explanation had been offered unprompted by a Doncaster estate agent called Murray Lloyd, who had also been asked if the reference was relating to him.

However, Mr O’Brien told the tribunal that the fax could also be a forgery as the line containing the “ML” reference seemed to be out of line with the rest of the document.

He also suggested it could be a reference to a property or to “money laundering.”

“I never believed “ML” was Michael Lowry in the first place,” said Mr O’Brien.

Meanwhile, an English solicitor who acts for Doncaster Rovers visited Ireland last March at a time when he was refusing to travel to Dublin to give evidence to the tribunal.

Mr O’Brien criticised the inquiry’s legal team earlier this week for failing to contact Northampton-based solicitor, Christopher Vaughan as a witness.

Mr Vaughan had written Mr Lowry in 1998. Reference was made to the TD’s involvement in the Doncaster deal. However, the solicitor now claims he had confused the Doncaster projects with other property deals in which Mr Lowry had an interest.

Tribunal barrister John Coughlan SC revealed yesterday that Mr Vaughan had travelled to Ireland to a meeting with LK Shields, another firm of solicitors used by Mr O’Brien on March 9 last — a day which coincided with a public sitting of the inquiry.

The tribunal could have subpoenaed Mr Vaughan to attend a hearing had it been aware he was in the jurisdiction.

Mr O’Brien said he was not aware that Mr Vaughan was in Ireland. He understood Mr Vaughan no longer wished to come to Dublin to give evidence because he was unhappy with inaccuracies contained in notes drafted by tribunal lawyers of private meetings with him.

He described Mr Vaughan as an eminent lawyer and very credible man who got very upset at the tribunal’s treatment of him, stressing that he personally had done everything in his power to persuade Mr Vaughan to give evidence to the inquiry.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.