Car dealer with €4.9m tax bill jailed for contempt

A car dealer has been jailed by the High Court a second time for contempt after it found he is continuing to give the Revenue the “runaround” in its efforts to execute a €4.97m judgment obtained nine years ago against him over unpaid taxes.

Car dealer with €4.9m tax bill jailed for contempt

The Revenue claimed John Alex Kane, formerly of Granard, Co Longford, and now with an address in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, painted an “entirely untrue” picture of himself as a man of very limited means drawing benefits in the North.

Revenue claimed that Mr Kane enjoys a significant but extremely complex income based on a “sophisticated, surrepitious, and covert” trade in motor vehicles, parts, and acessories in the Republic, the North, and in Britain. He appeared to supplement that income with farming subsidies from the Department of Agriculture and rental income from various properties, it claimed.

It said it believes he continued to run, through a former employee, a business from a garage premises at Granard and a remote business through “front” companies. While some trade was done in his own right, he typically uses a variety of corporate entities with directors, including Michael Grimes, who purported to represent him in the High Court a number of times in recent years, it claimed.

Lawyers for Mr Kane said they were in a difficult position having just come into the case for a client whose affairs were in “considerable disarray”.

Mr Kane maintained the cars and properties Revenue referred to do not belong to him and instead belong to companies, it was stated.

Dr Grimes, with an address at Tramore Rd, Cork, was not a party to the case but was ready to explain his involvement if that would help the court, it was stated. Mr Kane was prepared to help realise any assets that had value, counsel added.

The Revenue in July 2009 obtained judgments for €4.97m against Mr Kane and €5.27m against his brother, Pauraig Kane, over unpaid taxes in connection with the operation of their SUV business in Granard. It also got orders freezing the brothers’ accounts below some €10m and directing them to fully disclose their assets.

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