Written Answers. - Company Investigations.

Dick Spring

Question:

40 Mr. Spring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of inquiries and investigations authorised by her since taking office; the date each investigation commenced; the costs incurred by each investigation to date; the number of investigations completed; the number of investigations or reports published; and the action, if any, she has initiated on foot of the reports received by her. [18569/99]

The number of company investigations authorised by me – either directly through my appointment of authorised officers or indirectly upon my petitioning the High Court – since taking office is 16.

Details are as follows:

Section

Company

Date of Appointment

Reports

Status

Costs to Date

1.Section 19

*Garuda Limited T/A Streamline Enterprises Limited)

9th September, 1997

Final report submitted on the 14th December, 1998

Concluded

2.Section 14

Bula Resources (Holdings) plc

23rd October, 1997

Final Report published on 22nd July, 1998

Concluded

£203,000

3.Section 19

*Ansbacher (Cayman) Ltd.

13th January, 1998

Final Report submitted 22nd June, 1999.

Concluded

**£9,000

4.Section 59 of the Insurance Act 1989

National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited

23rd March, 1998

Interim Report submitted on 4th June, 1998.

Concluded

£21,787

5.Section 19

Faxhill Homes Ltd

22nd July, 1998

Final Report on 22nd December, 1998

Concluded

£135,000

6.Section 19

*Celtic Helicopters Limited

9th September, 1997

Interim reports were submitted on 24th September, 1997 and on 8th January, 1998.

Ongoing

7Section 19

*Guinness & Mahon (Ireland) Ltd.

8th January, 1998

Interim Reports on 6 June, 1998 and on 6 February, 1998

Ongoing

8.Section 19

*Hamilton Ross Co. Ltd.

23rd January, 1998

None

Ongoing

9.Section 19

*Irish Intercontinental Bank Ltd.

8th January, 1998

Interim Report on 2 June, 1998

Ongoing

10.Section 8

National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited

15th June, 1998

Interim Reports submitted on 11th August, 1998, 17th December, 1998 and 29th July, 1999.

Ongoing

£500,000approximately

11.Section 8

National Irish Bank Limited

30th March, 1998

Interim Reports submitted on 10th June, 1998, 17th December, 1998 and 29th July, 1999.

Ongoing

£900,000

12.Section 19

*Kentford Securities Ltd

9th June, 1998

None

Ongoing

13.Section 19

*Dunnes Stores (Ilac Centre) Limited

22nd July, 1998

None

Ongoing

14.Section 19

*Dunnes Stores Ireland Company

22nd July, 1998

None

Ongoing

15.Section 19

*College Trustees Limited

10th March, 1999

None

Ongoing

16.Section 8

Ansbacher (Cayman) Limited

22nd September, 1999

None

Ongoing

£1,000

*In relation to Section 19 inspections the work involved is being conducted by departmental staff and, other than salaries the only significant cost arises from the engagement of stenographers, which amounts tocirca £10,500.
Bula Resources (Holdings) Plc Section 14
The primary finding of this report, which was published on 22 July 1998 was that Jim Stanley is and was at all times the beneficial owner of MIR Oil Development Limited. and the Bula shares both formerly and currently held by Chamonix Nominees Ltd. in trust for Mir Oil, are and were at all material times beneficially owned by Mr. Jim Stanley. The report was forwarded,inter alia, to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Irish Stock Exchange and the Central Bank. A number of company law breaches were also detected which I am pursuing arising from legal advice.
Garuda Limited.
The report of the authorised officer relating to Garuda Limited (T/A Streamline Enterprises) was submitted on 14 December 1998. Relevant extracts of the report were forwarded to the company and to its principal director on 30 December 1998 for comment. Extracts of the report have also been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Faxhill Homes Limited
On 22 July 1998 I appointed Mr. George Maloney FCCA under section 19 of the Companies Act, 1990 as authorised officer to examine the books and documents of Faxhill Homes Ltd. The authorised officer reported on 22 December 1998. Relevant extracts of the report were sent to the company, to ascertain whether they wished to make representation on the content. Extracts of the report have also been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions. In consultation with any legal advisers I am considering the various issues arising from this case.
Ansbacher (Cayman) Limited
Following receipt of the authorised officers report on the 26 June 1999 I decided to petition the High Court for the appointment of section 8 inspectors to the company. The petition, which was heard by the court on 22 September 1999, resulted in the appointment of three High Court inspectors to investigate and report on the affairs of the company. These inspectors operate to the mandate of the court and will make such reports as are appropriate in due course.
Dunnes Stores Ireland Company and Dunnes Stores (ILAC Centre) Limited
The High Court decision in the second set of judicial review proceedings by Dunnes Stores Ireland Company, Dunnes Stores (ILAC Centre) Ltd. and Margaret Heffernan against my decision to investigate the companies was delivered on 6 July. The court determined,inter alia, that my decision was properly made. Appeals by both parties of aspects of the decision are listed for hearing by the Supreme Court in December.
National Irish Bank Limited/National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited
These inquiries arose following allegations broadcast by RTE in January 1998 that National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited had been involved in the execution of policies to facilitate tax evasion. A departmental official was appointed under section 59 of the Insurance Act, 1989 to investigate possible breaches of insurance legislation. The authorised officer submitted his report on the 4 June 1998.
On 30 March 1998 the High Court, on my application, appointed Messrs. John Blayney and Tom Grace, FCA, to investigate and report on the affairs of National Irish Bank Limited. On the 15 June 1998 the High Court appointed Messrs. John Blayney SC and Tom Grace FCA, as inspectors to National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited.
The inspectors submitted an interim report on National Irish Bank Limited on the 10 June 1998 and on National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited on 11 August 1998. Further interim reports on National Irish Bank Limited/National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited were submitted on 17 December 1998 and 29 July 1999.
A legal challenge to the inspectors work by certain National Irish Bank managers was determined in the Supreme Court on 21 January 1999, affirming the right of National Irish Bank employees to be protected against self-incrimination in the course of the ongoing investigation. In a further challenge to aspects of this case the High Court on 19 March 1999 ruled against National Irish Bank Limited and National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited in their application to prevent the inspectors from investigating the bank's compliance with Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT). The court also rejected the bank's claim that it was entitled to copies of all transcripts and documents relating to interviews carried out by the inspectors with staff and customers. The consequence of such legal actions has been to retard the inspectors in their investigation with the result that it will be some time before the inspectors will be ready to submit their final report. The High Court will decide in due course whether and to what extent this report should be published.