Delaney denies 'paralysing' corporate watchdog


Delaney denies 'paralysing' corporate watchdog
John Delaney said he initially did not know how many documents would need to be inspected

Former FAI CEO John Delaney has rejected claims by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) of engaging in conduct that would paralyse the corporate watchdog's investigative powers.

In a sworn statement, Mr Delaney said he needs extra time to examine thousands of files, including the contents of his emails, so he can set out what he says are covered by legal professional privilege and cannot be used by the ODCE as part of its criminal investigation into the FAI.

The High Court was due later this month to make a determination that some of the files are covered by legal privilege and cannot be used by the ODCE.

However, arising out of Mr Delaney's application for extra time, that application is not proceeding and the matter will next be mentioned before the courts in September.

The files, which consist of 13 hard copy documents and a digital device containing 270,000 separate files including the former CEO's emails, were seized from the FAI's offices at Abbottstown on foot of a search warrant last February.

An agreed plan was put in place to let Mr Delaney examine the files to see which ones are private to him or covered by professional legal privilege and cannot be used by the ODCE as part of if its investigation into certain matters concerning the FAI.

It was envisaged that the inspection would be completed before the end of July.

However Mr Delaney, who is a notice party to the action, asked for additional time to examine the files due to the large number involved.

That application was opposed by the ODCE. Mr Delaney, the ODCE, said was seeking to "complicate" what is "a relatively simple exercise".

Examination of documents could take six months, accoridng to Delaney's IT expert

In a sworn statement, which Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds had directed him to produce to the court setting out his co-operation with the inspection process to date, he denied trying to delay the process.

Mr Delaney, formerly of Kingswell, Tipperary, now living in the UK, said he initially did not know how many documents would need to be inspected.

He said was concerned that his rights may be infringed if he and his lawyers are not given enough time to inspect the documentation and the amount of time allotted to examine the files he said was "surprising and disquieting."

The documentation he said contained emails going back several years.

It could not only contain his work for the FAI but also his work for UEFA, and other bodies he had worked with during his time with the association, as well as his personal and private emails.

He said what had clearly happened was the ODCE was seeking to resile from an examination strategy it had designed and had approved by the court, and was trying to blame him "for making the strategy unworkable".

In reply, Kerida Naidoo SC, for the ODCE, said his side believes that the investigation could be done much quicker than what appeared to be suggested by Mr Delaney's experts.

While Mr Delaney had not said how long is required, the court had heard that the IT expert consulted by him said the examination could take six to seven months.

Ms Justice Reynolds said the court was anxious that the matter proceeds as soon as possible.

The judge directed that Mr Delaney's lawyers to furnish the ODCE with the number of documents he says are covered by professional legal privilege and a schedule listing those documents by early September.

The case will return before the courts in September, the judge added.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up