John Dunne, aged 39, of Monastery Park, Clondalkin, Dublin has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to eight counts of evading VRT on five Range Rovers and three Audi vehicles.
Detective Garda Ian Pemberton from the Criminal Assets Bureau told the court he had interviewed Dunne in May 2008 in relation to an investigation into tax evasion.
The court heard that when asked if he had offered “inducement” to Gerard Blaney, who worked at the Vehicle Registration Office in Tallaght, to falsely fill out his VRT applications, Dunne replied: “Definitely not, 100%.”
Detective Garda Gary Sheehan from CAB told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that Dunne had denied ever giving any gifts to Mr Blaney, except for a cheque for Mr Blaney’s sponsored golf tournament.
The court heard that Dunne’s car dealership, Tony Boland Car Sales, was registering about six or seven cars a week for VRT.
Dunne told Det Gda Sheehan that he knew the Vogue was the highest specification of Range Rover and HSE a lower model.
Det Gda Sheehan told Dunne they had documentary evidence showing he had registered a Vogue as a HSE for the purposes of paying less VRT. Dunne replied: “I didn’t under-declare to my knowledge.”
He said he would have noticed if a car was registered for lower VRT.
Mr Dunne told Det Gda Pemberton that if an error was made in filling out the VRT forms it was not intentional.
He denied that Mr Blaney ever turned a blind eye during an inspection and said Mr Blaney had sometimes made him correct errors on VRT forms.
The court heard Dunne was arrested on March 26, 2009 by CAB officers.
The trial continues.