Lowry paid agent £250k days after reference retracted

Michael Lowry paid his land agent £250,000 just days after the same property scout separately agreed to retract a reference linking the TD to the controversial Doncaster Rovers project.

Lowry paid agent £250k days after reference retracted

The agent, Kevin Phelan, got Stg£248,624 from Mr Lowry on Aug 28, 2002, six months after the date their negotiations were supposed to have had been finalised and settled.

Six days earlier, Mr Phelan received a separate fee of £150,000 on behalf of Denis O’Brien. This was transferred on Aug 22, 2002, after a dispute was resolved between Mr O’Brien and Mr Phelan over the agent’s role in the Doncaster Rovers project.

Under the terms of the O’Brien deal, Mr Phelan was paid outstanding fees and relinquished certain claims to profits.

But the final point of agreement involved clarification from Mr Phelan that a reference to Mr Lowry in one critical document was not Doncaster-related. This issue arose from a note on 1999 fax discussion and was detailed in tribunal testimony by Denis O’Brien Snr, who handled these negotiations on his son’s behalf.

Mr Lowry, Mr O’Brien Snr and Denis O’Brien Jnr have all denied the former Fine Gael minister had anything to do with the Doncaster project.

However, the Moriarty Tribunal found that the £150,000 Mr O’Brien Jnr paid to Mr Phelan was done to protect a false version of the Doncaster arrangement that had been put forward, which, it stated, involved the retraction of the true context to the initials “ML” that appeared on the document discussing Doncaster.

The tribunal did not make a finding on Mr Lowry’s £248,624 payment as it was not aware of its existence.

Mr Lowry had testified that he reached a full and final settlement with Mr Phelan on Apr 22, 2002, in a separate deal worth almost Stg£65,000. The independent TD had testified that this April settlement ensured Mr Phelan had no claim to his Wigan development.

The tribunal said the deal was done to manufacture a contrived falsehood that saw another key letter, which linked Mr Lowry to Doncaster, altered.

Mr Lowry’s recent confirmation that he paid Mr Phelan Stg£248,624 in Aug 2002 further contradicts the specific evidence he supplied to the tribunal around his April payment.

According to newly discovered documents, the second sum was put into an Isle of Man trust by Mr Lowry in August when he diverted a commission his refrigeration company (Garuda Ltd) was due from a Finnish supplier (Norpe OY).

Mr Lowry has said the second payment, similar to his one in April, related to claims Mr Phelan might have had to his undeclared property in Wigan, that the Standards in Public Office Commission is investigating.

Both Mr Lowry and Mr O’Brien were contacted but neither made a statement.

More in this section

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.

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.