A bank has been directed by the High Court to disclose some details of an account alleged to have defrauded the operating company of Limerick’s Adare Manor Hotel and an association of vintage car enthusiasts based in Belgium.
Hearing the disclosure motion from Tizzard Holdings Unlimited Company, which owns and operates the hotel, and Zoute Automobile Club ZSW, Mr Justice Senan Allen made an order directing Ulster Bank to disclose to the plaintiffs’ solicitors any name or address linked to the account in a Co. Wexford branch.
The bank, represented by Joe Jeffers BL, had required the plaintiffs to seek a court order for the information and did not oppose the motion to disclose the identity of the customer. It maintained it had nothing to do with the alleged wrongdoing and there is and never was any basis to blame the bank.
In an affidavit, the company director of Adare Manor, Colm Hannon, alleged the email account of one of the hotel’s sales administrators was hacked in 2019. This was realised, he said, after a representative of the automobile club contacted the saleswoman to make arrangements for two group bookings for that June.
It is alleged that unbeknown to either party, a fraudster had accessed the account and was communicating with the Zoute representative while purporting to be the hotel employee. Zoute paid the alleged fraudster a sum of close to €56,000, which had been intended for Adare Manor for accommodation services, Mr Hannon said.
He also alleged the fraudster had made an email address similar to the Zoute representative’s and used this to communicate with the hotel. Despite not receiving the funds, he said Adare Manor permitted the groups of vintage car enthusiasts to stay in the hotel.
The Zoute representative made a statement to An Garda Síochana, and the plaintiffs have fully cooperated with the investigation, said Mr Hannon.
Following correspondence with the plaintiffs’ solicitors, Ulster Bank said it would remit to Zoute’s account the sum of €8,574.33 which at that point was all that had not yet been withdrawn from the fraudster’s account, he said.
The bank said it was unable to provide information about the specified customer without being directed to do so by order of the court, said Mr Hannon.
Mr Hannon said the plaintiffs cannot institute proceedings against the person who allegedly defrauded them without identifying the individual.
Mr Justice Allen said Tizzard and Zoute, represented by Frank Crean BL, instructed by Maurice Power Solicitors, had made out a “proper case” for the order for the purpose of seeking redress for the wrongdoing they claim to have suffered.