Where Lies the Morale Compass of Denis O’Brien
In Relation to the Moriarty Tribunal, the cards are on the table.
Judge for yourself
March 2010, a judicial tribunal found that a former minister for communications, Michael Lowry, “secured the winning” of the 1995 mobile phone license competition for Denis O’Brien’s Esat Digifone. The tribunal also found that O’Brien made two payments to Lowry, in 1996 and 1999, totalling approximately £500,000, and supported a loan of Stg£420, 000 given to Lowry in 1999. In his 2,348-page report, Mr. Justice Michael Moriarty found that the payments from O’Brien were “demonstrably referable to the acts and conduct of Mr. Lowry” during the licence process, acts which benefited Esat Digifone. In effect, O’Brien was trading in influence or ‘legal corruption’
Did O’Brien and Lowry behave in an ethical way in this matter
Let’s step back in time
The telecommunications company has been accused of giving gifts to a senior Antiguan government adviser who, along with an ambassador-at-large, have been suspended for allegedly making improper contacts with the tender’s board which is considering bids for the sale of the mobile department of the state-run utility company.
Senior adviser to the Minister of Communications Dean Jonas and Ambassador-at-large Dr Isaac Newton were suspended last month after Communications Minister Wilmoth Daniel said they met with the tender’s board in [an] attempt to influence the members to accept Digicel’s bid.
Once again, we see controversy in obtaining a licence from an O’Brien company
Where lies the moral compass of Digicel?
The licensing of mobile network operators has occurred in an unstructured, random fashion that defies explanation. Ownership has been obscure and one suspects deliberately so with the aim of concealing nepotism and corruption
Prosecutors in the USA identified smaller operators, which had been bribing politicians and officials at Haiti Teleco, by way of shell companies, in order to get cheaper rates for calls. A series of convictions has resulted in over forty years of jail sentences. By means of money laundering charges, some of the recipients of the bribes have since been extradited and convicted resulting in jail sentences of up to 40 years.
In May 2006, Comcel and Haitel had about 500,000 subscribers – a cell phone coverage rate of 6% for a population of 8.2 million. Digicel entered the market in May 2006. After one year of operations, May 2006-May 2007, Digicel went from zero to 1.4 million subscribers. The two other cell phone providers in Haiti, Comcel, and Haitel, responded by cutting their prices and offering new services. As a result, Comcel and Haitel increased their subscribers from 500,000 to 1 million. As of April 2012, Digicel has about 3.5 million cell phone subscribers in Haiti. In May 2007, Digicel started offering two BlackBerry services with the Internet, one for enterprises and one for individuals. On March 30, 2012, Digicel has made the acquisition of Comcel / Voila, its main competitor in the Haitian market.
The question is was all of this possible without backhanders.
It was interesting to see that one of the witnesses who appeared in the High court defamation trial against the Irish Daily Mail was the Former Minister for Social Affairs in Haiti Ms. Josefa Gauthier she told the High Court she does not believe businessman Denis O’Brien’s relief work following the earthquake was an act. She said that Mr. O’Brien never sought to publicise his aid work.
Ms. Josefa Gauthier is also a former director of the Digicel Foundation (1)
The disappearing millions
MIAMI, USA – President Michel Martelly told the Haitian Diaspora community in Miami that the National Fund for Education, established in May 2011, had accumulated $16 million [US] and not a penny of it had been touched. Although in January of 2012, Digicel CEO Denis O’Brien said the fund had collected $20 million [US], and in October 2011, the then-Minister of Education said the fund had $28 million [US].
In this instance the magnetic field appears to be giving the compass some problems nevertheless the signs still point to dollars
The background of Josefa is rather interesting.
*Ms. Josefa Raymond Gauthier is the daughter of Adrien Raymond a former minister under Duvalier Government a regime well known for corruption and heavy-handed treatment of its citizens.
On the return of baby doc. Jan 16 2011 delegation of former officials who had served under his regime was waiting at the airport including the former foreign affairs minister Adrien Raymond and former presidential guard commander, the former Colonel Christophe Dardompré.
Current Haitian government links to old regime would bear scrutiny … Thierry and Gregory Mayard-Paul, whose father Constantin Mayard-Paul was a lawyer for Claude Raymond, a feared army lieutenant general under “Baby Doc.” Etc
It is interesting to note that Laurent Lamothe the current Prime Minister has a background in telecommunications
*Min. of Planning & External Cooperation 07/11/201
(1) Many large corporations have charitable foundations and no doubt do good work. It should also be noted that some of the most corrupt companies in the world also have charitable foundations which leads to an illusion that they must be on the road to the
Denis O’Brien and his defamation lawsuit in California
April 2, 2013 by namawinelake
[The originating lawsuit is here, the respondent’s answer is here, and this is what the American’s call a “report” for the court which is supposed to assist the court with managing the case and focuses on the issues involved]
There doesn’t appear to have been much reporting in the old media in Ireland about a defamation case initiated last November 2012 by controversial businessman, Denis O’Brien and his telecoms company Digicel, in a Californian district court. The Sunday Times did cover the case in a report in early December 2012 – not available without subscription – but the general absence of reporting is remarkable given the fascinating detail that has so far emerged in court filings.
The case was initiated last November 2012 in California by Denis and his telecoms company, Digicel. Denis and his company are claiming that an individual named Donald MacAllister has made a series of falsehoods in written statements and Denis’s lawsuit says “the purpose and effect of this pattern of misconduct is to (a) expose Denis O’Brien to hatred, contempt, ridicule and disgrace, (b) threaten that unless Mr. O’Brien pays Mr. MacAllister millions of dollars, Mr. MacAllister will continue to attempt to wrongfully connect him to criminal conduct and/or expose him to disgrace or contempt, and ( c) interfere with the prospective economic advantage to be gained by Mr. O’Brien and his company, Digicel”. For his part, Donald is denying the central allegations, and is saying that Denis owes him money from an investment a decade ago of €100,000 in Digicel.
Denis is represented by Neal Potischman of Californian law firm Davis Polk and Wardwell and Donald is presently representing himself.
There are a number of aspects to the case, but one of the main accusations is that Donald has contacted people with allegedly false information about two matters (1) the Moriarty Tribunal – the tribunal set up by the Irish government in 1997 to investigate the finances of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey and telecoms minister, Michael Lowry, and which reported its findings in March 2011 – and (2) the decision by the Supreme Court in October 2012 which allows unsuccessful bidders, including Declan Ganley’s Cellstar, for the 1996 mobile phone licence to be allowed present their case to the High Court where they are alleging wrongdoing in the award of the phone licence to Denis. By the way, the latest from justice minister, Alan Shatter, on the Garda investigation following publication of the Moriarty report was included in a response to a parliamentary question on 12thMarch 2013, when Minister Shatter stated “the Report of the Moriarty Tribunal has been examined by the Garda authorities and the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions has now been sought by them, with a view to determining whether or not a full Garda investigation should now be commenced.”
Donald is accused by Denis in the Californian lawsuit of sending emails containing falsehoods to an array of Irish, American, Jamaican and Burmese politicians and media including Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail senator Diarmuid Wilson, #vinb himself Vincent Browne and Burmese Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
There was supposed to have been a case management hearing last week in California which would schedule a date for the full hearing, but we are still awaiting confirmation of the order from that. We do know that both sides believe the matter will required a 2-3 day hearing, and that Donald is looking for a jury hearing.
He’s a first cousin of Denis O’Brien, his mother Maureen was the sister of Denis O’Brien’s father, Denis Senior. Donald’s father, from whom his mother was divorced, was an American physician, Dr Niall MacAllister. It is claimed in the lawsuit that Donald is now a resident of Orange County, California. Then Amazon website where his self-published e-book about the death of his mother is available, says of Donald: “Despite the extraordinary challenges Donald MacAllister faced as a orphaned child, foster youth and homeless young adult, he founded and directed the non-profit organization America Works for Kids, which became the United States leading employment-readiness training organization for foster youth. Over the course of 15 years he achieved a record over 10,000 trained foster youth. In addition to his two Congressional recognitions and testimonies, he also received personal commendations from U.S Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Chairman of the U.S Securities Commission Christopher Cox. MacAllister’s goal is to help as many foster youth as possible avoid the plight he faced.”
The 1972 car crash
The 9-year old Donald was travelling by car , a Hillman Hunter owned by Denis O’Brien senior, in Foxrock, south county Dublin on 31st August, 1972 with his mother Maureen driving and brother Niall in the back seat when they collided with a Daimler driven by the then 36-year old Michael Smurfit, now one of Ireland’s richest men. In 2011, Donald wrote an ebook about the crash; the book is available from Amazon here. In his reply to the present lawsuit in California, Donald writes that a report – commissioned by Donald from an outfit called Crash Team Inc, and which apparently had input from a “Mr Finn, the former Head of Ireland’s Forensic Crash Investigation Unit” – said “it is our opinion that Maureen O’Brien (MacAllister) was not speeding, and was not initially on the wrong side of the road. Her motion to the incorrect side was an attempt to avoid the oncoming Daimler which was in her lane when she first detected it. We have concluded this fatal accident occurred as a result of Michael Smurfit speeding, and driving on the incorrect side of center”. There is no corroboration of the claim made by Donald in his answer, and Michael Smurfit has been exonerated by Gardai of fault in the tragedy, though Donald is now saying that he has been discussing a fresh inquiry with Gardai. Sunday Times reporting in 2011 suggests that Michael Smurfit didn’t know until 2011 that the woman killed in the 1972 car crash was Denis O’Brien’s aunt.
Denis O’Brien and Michael Smurfit (pictured together here)
Donald claims in his reply to the lawsuit, that, in 2009, Denis O’Brien told Donald that Michael Smurfit had financed the first of Denis O’Brien’s forty radio stations.
Denis O’Brien and the Clinton Foundation
Denis’s lawsuit remains silent on a statement by Donald that Denis is the largest contributor to President Bill Clinton’s Foundation; the lawsuit states
“In a 1 November 2012 email, sent to Mr O’Brien and apparently copying, on information and belief an Irish government minister and an Irish Senator, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a U.S. State Department employee, and members of the Irish and American media, Mr. MacAllister stated: “I will now prepare to send a letter to the US Congress, the US Senate and the US President informing them the largest contributor to the Clinton Foundation who is now on trial for Criminal Bribery and Corruption before Irelands [sic] Supreme Court has apparently asked US Secretary of State Clinton to NOT report to Myanmar Law Enforcement and Authorities that the largest contributor to her husbands [sic] Foundation is apparently attempting to apply for a Telecom License in Myanmar while on trial for Criminal Bribery and Corruption before Irelands [sic] Supreme Court.” This statement is false. Mr. O’Brien is not and has never been on trial facing a criminal charge, much less a criminal charge being heard by the Supreme Court of Ireland.”
The Clinton Foundation lists contributors to the Foundation and lists just five contributors who’ve donated more than USD 25m and they are “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fred Eychaner, Frank Giustra, Chief Executive Officer, The Radcliffe Foundation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and UNITAID. There is a “Denis J O’Brien” who contributed between USD1-5m, and Digicel’s Denis’s second name is “John” but that donation, although significant, wouldn’t be enough to qualify Denis as the “largest contributor” to the Clinton Foundation.
Digicel and Burma
The lawsuit states
“Digicel has an existing prospective relationship with the country of Burma. Digicel has presented a technical and commercial assessment for the process of expanding Burma’s existing telecom network to the Burmese government, and is now preparing to engage in a tender process for a mobile telecom license. Digicel has already made substantial investments to further its expected business relations with the country of Burma, including providing multi-year sponsorships to Burmese sports organizations, and is prepared to make an initial investment of in excess of [US] $1 billion to improve Burma’s telecom infrastructure. These efforts have resulted in brand awareness within Burma. Digicel is well-positioned as a competitive candidate for a telecom license. There is a significant probability of future economic benefit from a business relationship between Digicel and Burma because the potential mobile telecom market in Burma is extremely large. Burma has 60 million residents, less than two percent of whom are reported to currently have access to mobile phone and Internet services. Neighboring countries have usage rates varying from 57 to 100 percent, suggesting that a telecom license in Burma could result in Digicel’s acquiring tens of millions of new customers and potentially doubling the size of its worldwide customer base”
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FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin plans to call on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to reopen a module of Moriarty Tribunal for a three month period to allow it to examine new allegations concerning the Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.
Martin has said that information contained in a recording of a conversation between the former Fine Gael minister and property agent Kevin Phelan over details of a €250,000 payment “raises some very serious questions”.
“Primary among them is whether a central module of the Moriarty Tribunal was compromised by an effort to co-ordinate the evidence of key witnesses,” Martin said in a statement first printed in the Sunday Independent and provided to TheJournal.ie today.
The Taoiseach has already ruled out reopening the Tribunal and speaking in New York today he said that Justice Moriarty had reported “fully and finally” according to Newstalk.
The conversation between Lowry and Phelan is said to have taken place on 20 September 2004 and concerns a €250,000 payment to Phelan which Lowry pleaded with Phelan not to reveal as the independent TD had “never declared it”.
In a statement released following first publication of a transcript of the conversation in the Sunday Independent three weeks ago, Lowry insisted that the payment was “properly recorded and accounted for” through one of his companies.
He has since refused to confirm the authenticity of the tape recording and claimed he has been unable to obtain a copy of the tape from the Sunday Independent, which broke the story.
This contradicts claims from the paper which details attempts to get a copy of the conversation to Lowry in today’s edition.
Martin said that TV3 had been “inexplicably alone among Irish broadcasters” in broadcasting the audio recording of the conversation last Thursday night and said that the case for re-examining evidence presented to the Moriarty Tribunal had been emboldened.
In 2011, the Tribunal found that Lowry exerted an “insidious and pervasive influence” on the process of awarding a mobile telephone license to the Denis O’Brien’s company Esat Digifone.
However it made limited findings on matters concerning the sale of Doncaster Rovers Football Club, which involved Phelan, due to “suppression” of evidence. Both Lowry and O’Brien have rejected the findings of the Tribunal.
Martin said of the recording played on TV3: “The nuances which emerge, absent from the written transcript, add to the fear that the Tribunal’s work may have been compromised.”
The Fianna Fáil leader said that the reluctance of the Taoiseach to investigate the new allegations surrounding Lowry was “understandable” given “the proximity” he and other ministers have to the events which led to the Tribunal.
But he said that Labour’s silence is a “a stark reminder of that party’s weakness”.
He continued: “No political party in this country can point to an unblemished past, but those of us who want to build a better quality of politics for the future have a duty to speak out on this issue.
“Fine Gael and the Labour Party were elected with a record majority on a long list of promises. At the top of that list was a promise to change the way we practice politics.
“In that spirit, I will next week call on the Taoiseach to agree to have the specific module of the Moriarty Tribunal reopened for a period of three months to allow Judge Moriarty examine the new material that has emerged since he reported two years ago.
“If Fine Gael meant a word of what it said about the need for change, and if the Labour Party has a shred of integrity left, I expect unanimous support for this call.”
It centred on a 12 minutes 42 seconds phone call between the former Fine Gael Minister and Phelan, during which they discussed a sterling sum of £200,000 – £250,000 which the Sunday Independent says Lowry said he paid to Phelan, but said during the call: “I never declared it”.
The Moriarty Tribunal covered the investigation of payments to Lowry, whose company Garuda paid up to €1.2 million after a Revenue audit, while he also paid €200,000 in respect of settling his personal taxes.
This evening, Lowry released a statement about what he described as “extensive coverage of an alleged taped telephone conversation”.
My business dealings have been the subject of intense scrutiny over a prolonged period leading to several false and inaccurate reviews.
The payment referred to in the Sunday Independent was made by my company, Garuda Limited, on my behalf. That transaction was properly recorded and accounted for in the records and accounts of Garuda Limited. The payment referred to is fully tax compliant.
A deal made by Phelan on the sale of Doncaster Rovers was discussed during the tribunal, but it made limited findings on it due to the “suppression” of evidence, the paper says.
According to Lowry, the register at the UK Land Registry and company records “clearly show that I never had any direct or indirect shareholding or beneficial interest in Doncaster Rovers or its associated companies”.
I also confirm that I never had any material or beneficial interest in ‘Glebe Trust’.
The authors of the article said they had made multiple attempts to contact Lowry by text, phone calls, email and Facebook messages. Lowry said that he received no documentation on this matter before he left his Dáil office on Thursday.
I was un-contactable as I was travelling over the weekend. My constituency office is closed on a Saturday. The stake out at my property on Saturday and the incursion onto my private property was pointless.
The authors also said the paper handed over a copy of the recording and other documents and recordings to officers from the CAB.
Fianna Fáil Communications Spokesperson Michael Moynihan has called on the Dáil Deputy and former Fine Gael Minister Michael Lowry to quickly clarify the issues arising from the story.
Deputy Moynihan also called for the recording at the centre of the story to be forwarded to Judge Moriarty for examination.
Siteserv, what’s that? It’s an Irish company some of you mightn’t have heard about but which employs 900 people in Ireland who provide a wide range of services to public and private companies. Like installing Sky boxes for Sky or providing installation and maintenance services to the ESB – take a look at its services here. It’s a fairly profitable company – the latest accounts are here – but it has a mountain of debt built up during the Celtic Tiger era in acquiring other companies.
Why is Siteserv in the news? It has gotten into financial difficulty and is being sold. The latest is that 99% of Siteserv’s shareholders have just agreed to sell the company for €45m.
And what’s interesting about that? The buyer is a company called Millington, based in the Isle of Man, which numbers Denis O’Brien and Leslie Buckley amongst its owners. But there appears to be at least two competing offers for Siteserv for more than €45m – one for €52m from Anchorage and one for €60m from Altrad. We were also interested to find out that Dublin solicitors Arthur Cox were reported to have acted for both Siteserv and Denis O’Brien, though the company says it has procedures in place to deal with potential conflicts of interest.
But what is particularly interesting is that IBRC had given Siteserv a loan for €150m, but is set to get back less than €50m as part of the sale, and will write off the remaining €100m. And at the same time, the shareholders in Siteserv are set to pocket €5m. That turns the usual rules on debt on their head, normally the shareholders are wiped out first and secured lenders – which is what IBRC is understood to be in this case – tend to be top of the pile when it comes to prioritising repayment of debt. Remember Anglo in 2009 and the shareholders losing everything, but Anglo’s secured creditors, including senior bondholders, were repaid everything.
What has this to do with me? Well, you own IBRC, which is the company that merged Anglo and Irish Nationwide together. So YOU are writing off €100m – more than the €80m that has been collected from the controversial Household Charge – and at the same time shareholders are keeping millions.
But surely IBRC protects my interest. You’d think. After all, with annual rewards totalling €866,000 – about twice what the NAMA CEO gets – Mike Aynsley, the Australian CEO of Anglo must be a complete genius. And if anyone can protect our interests, he can. After all, that’s what he’s being paid so handsomely to do. Sadly to date, IBRC hasn’t defended its agreement with the €45m sale price, nor has it explained why shareholders walk away with millions while the taxpayer suffers a €100m loss. And before you conclude that this is a modern day version of Robber Barons stealing a company from under us, there has been a sale process ongoing for six months which has been overseen by KPMG and Arthur Cox, so we should expect some standard of probity.
Why doesn’t IBRC just appoint receivers to Siteserv? Indeed, a good question. Remember it was just a year ago that IBRC, or Anglo as it was known then, orchestrated the receivership of Sean Quinn’s companies. So it’s not as if IBRC hasn’t a track record of appointing receivers to insolvent companies. There are suggestions that Siteserv would lose several contracts if it were placed in receivership but these have not been publicly addressed.
And Denis O Brien, he’s the wealthy businessman that’s as crooked as a dog’s hind leg? Although the Moriarty Tribunal report last year had unkind things to say about Denis O’Brien and politician, Michael Lowry, both rejected the Tribunal’s findings which don’t have the force of legal judgments, and since then, neither the Gardai nor Director of Public Prosecutions seem to have picked up the baton offered by the Tribunal report to initiate criminal investigations. So, innocent he stands. Beyond that, he’s Ireland’s richest man having had a great start with the controversial Esat deal which the Moriarty Tribunal investigated, but he has gone on to make billions in mobile telecoms in the Carribbean and Pacific. And on the positive side, he made a huge contribution to the recovery of Haiti after the calamitous earthquake and he is regularly honoured for his philanthropy. And he’s a pal of president Bill Clinton, one of Ireland’s greatest friends but a man with his own past – thinking more of his presidential pardons than the Lewinsky affair. Welcome to the 21st century where we need get used to dealing with two-dimensional characters, though in the case of Denis O’Brien, he rejects the suggestion of an untoward second dimension as set out in black-and-white in the Moriarty report.
And is there any chance that Denis might buy the company for €45m – which will involve us taking a €100m writedown on what we are owed by Siteserv – and then a couple of months later, sell the company for €52m or €60m? There’s certainly a chance!
Tomorrow: Denis O’Brian and Media Ownership
Out there among the clusterfucks of wholesale financial “products”, Desmond broods over his €1.35 billion fortune and laughs in the face
of the now deceased “Robin Hood Tax” which Consigliere Noonan sorted out recently, ensuring speculative behaviour on the markets will not be be reasonably taxed.. No! That cold, hard cash has to come from Household Charges, Water Taxes and Civil Service Pensions.
Rianta… then things get topical. A debut in the Glackin report preceded several guest appearances in the Moriarty Tribunal, followed by a cameo in the Flood Tribunal. Some hairy deals and questionable “loans” with the Haughey family, including paying for Charles’ yacht to be refurbished to the tune of £75,000, began to make Desmond look like the kind of alumnus Citibank would be proud of. With many different offshore
bank accounts, Desmond has racked up an intriguing paper trail to follow the abortion that was the Johnston Mooney and O’Brien land deal. This award certifies our Desmond as dancing in the big leagues of corporate culture. Godspeed you dirt merchant!
It’s good to know that the standards of the IFSC are as low as one would expect…
Mr Devitt Tansparency International Ireland
lack of action on the Moriarty tribunal’s findings has been blamed for Ireland slipping down a world ranking on corruption perception.
The group warns the results could hurt Ireland’s economic recovery by turning investors away, frightened by the idea that Government decisions are not been taken in a fair and equitable manner. “Small, open economies are much more exposed to reputational risk than their more powerful counterparts,” said John Devitt, chief executive of Transparency International Ireland.
The ranking is the lowest ever for Ireland and is an 11-place descent from just two years ago.
The index – which draws on surveys of experts and businesspeople – gives an assessment of a country’s political risk and is used by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s as a way of measuring the potential for sovereign debt default.
The Moriarty and Mahon tribunals showed how corruption and payments to politicians existed at Government level, while the lack of holding people to account was having an effect on how the country was perceived, the group said.
“There appears to have been very little action taken on foot of the publication of the final Moriarty tribunal report, while the Taoiseach’s decision to make public appearances with Denis O’Brien after the publication of the report will have done our international reputation no favours,” said Mr Devitt.
Countries topping the index are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand – all jointly tied in first place. Other European states ahead of Ireland include Switzerland, the Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, the UK and France. Uruguay is ranked 20 while the Bahamas is ranked 22. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia all rank at the bottom, in 174th place.
The group urged the Government to bring more transparency to the public sector, along with reforms to give the Oireachtas more powers. “Our reputation for cronyism and other forms of corruption will drive many honest businesses towards more open and well regulated economies’, Mr Devitt added.
Transparency International Ireland in 2009 estimated the Government could be losing €1 billion a year in investment from abroad because of its relatively low position in the index, which then was 14th place.
The Moriarty tribunal in 1997 began investigating payments to politicians. It found businessman Denis O’Brien made payments to former minister for communications Michael Lowry, who “secured the winning” of a mobile phone licence in 1995 for him. Both men deny the finding
The court has published its reasons for allowing a case to go ahead by two competing consortia who are seeking compensation.
They allege there was fraud and corruption in the way the licence was awarded.
Between them the consortia are taking actions against former minister Michael Lowry, East Telecom, Denis O’Brien, Ireland and the Attorney General.
The State parties secured High Court orders stopping the cases on the grounds of delay, but last July the Supreme Court ruled the actions could go ahead.
Today, they published their reasons.
Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said the integrity of Ireland as well of the consortia required a trial of their claims of corruption, which they were alleging took the form of bribes.
He said such things, if true, would be utterly disgraceful, destructive of the reputation of both the briber and the person bribed.
If proved, it would be a commercial and political disgrace of the highest order and would disgrace the nation and the State, he said.
The judges said the consortia had been entitled to wait for the outcome of the Moriarty Tribunal before bringing their actions.
Businessman Declan Ganley‘s Comcast International Holdings Incorporated and Persona Digital Telephony Ltd had initiated separate actions in 2001 challenging the licence award and claiming multi-million euro in damages.
In a stinging letter, the billionaire who was criticised by the Moriarty tribunal accused Ms Burton of “vindictiveness” and of making a “startling” personal attack on him.
Ms Burton is the second government minister to have received a letter of complaint from Mr O’Brien in the aftermath of his appearance on the New York Stock Exchange alongside Taoiseach Enda Kenny last March. Mr O’Brien also wrote to Lucinda Creighton — but the tone of his letter to Ms Burton — disclosed for the first time today — is harsher.
“I recognise that your political persuasion naturally leaves you unsympathetic towards someone in my position, but I remain concerned at the level of vindictiveness underpinning your remarks,” he wrote.
“That your comments would be endorsed in quick time by your party colleague, Minister Brendan Howlin TD, was an unsurprising display of political opportunism.
“I, clearly, am undeserving of any semblance of fair or balanced treatment. Political expediency demands outright condemnation. It is the easy option.”