FAI claims legal privilege for sections of documents

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has asked the High Court to determine if parts of documents held by the FAI auditors Deloitte are legally privileged.

FAI claims legal privilege for sections of documents

additional reporting from Joe Leogue

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has asked the High Court to determine if parts of documents held by the FAI auditors Deloitte are legally privileged.

In a motion, brought under the 2014 Companies Act, the ODCE wants Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds to examine this additional material, provided to it by Deloitte as part of its probe into “certain matters” concerning the association.

A decision from the court is expected to be made before the end of the month.

The material from Deloitte was briefly mentioned before the Judge.

Kerida Naidoo SC, for the ODCE, said the court was being asked to look at sections of four documents concerning Deloitte.

Three had already been provided to the court, along with other material sent to the ODCE by the FAI.

The fourth document has been provided in a sealed envelope. The document has been forwarded to the FAI and it will identify to the judge what parts it says are legally privileged.

The judge thanked Deloitte for its assistance, and adjourned the matter.

The judge will now decide whether or not the contents of the document from Deloitte, along with other documents provided by the FAI to the ODCE earlier this year, are legally privileged and cannot be used as part of the ODCE investigation.

Any material covered by legal privilege cannot be used in the ODCE probe.

The material related to the minutes of all meetings of the FAI board of directors and committees of the board for the period January 1, 2016 to March 21, 2019 inclusive.

The FAI claims privilege over certain extracts of documents generated out of these meetings that it has provided to the ODCE.

It has made the claim of privilege in order to protect the FAI’s position against third parties, and not the ODCE.

The items which the FAI claims privilege over include legal advice the board received from the FAI’s interim CEO Ms Rea Walshe in February 2016 over an agreement with a prospective sponsor, and in November that year of the FAI’s potential liability over possible and ongoing legal actions against it.

Other matters it seeks to claim privilege over are legal advice from Ms Walshe regarding disciplinary matters in December 2017 and legal advice concerning an application from a member concerning an application for a licence in January 2018.

Meanwhile, Siptu has said staff in the FAI were “alarmed” at comments from FAI president Donal Conway about potential redundancies at the association.

“This kind of unspecified, casual threat to the livelihoods of loyal and hard-working staff across the organisation is unacceptable and in breach of their basic employment rights,” Siptu services division organiser Karan O’Loughlin said.

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