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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 23 May, 2018
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ODCE seeks inspectors to probe claims at Independent News & Media

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement is to apply to the High Court next month.

Image: RollingNews.ie

THE STATE’S CORPORATE watchdog, the Director of Corporate Enforcement, is to seek inspectors to investigate Independent News & Media plc, the publisher of the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Herald and other newspapers.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has been investigating corporate governance at the media group, according to Independent.ie.

The ODCE is to apply to the High Court next month to have the inspectors appointed.

Former INM CEO Robert Pitt made a protected disclosure which sparked the probe.

He and former INM chairman Leslie Buckley, who stepped down from his post at the start of the month, had a falling out over a proposal to buy the Newstalk radio station.

The company is taking legal advice on whether the High Court has sufficient grounds to make the appointment of the inspectors.

A company spokesperson released this statement last night:

“On March 23rd 2018, the Company received notice from the Director of Corporate Enforcement of his intention to apply to the High Court of Ireland under section 748 of the Companies Act 2014 for the appointment of inspectors to investigate the affairs of the Company.

“The Company has been informed that the Director will make an application to the Court for the appointment on April 16th, 2018.

“Under section 748 of the Companies Act 2014, the Court may appoint an inspector to investigate the affairs of a company, and to report on those affairs to the court, if the Court is satisfied that there are circumstances suggesting that the affairs of the company have been conducted in an unlawful manner or on certain other specified grounds.

“The Board of INM is taking legal advice as to whether the Court would have sufficient grounds to make the appointment.

“The Board and the Company’s management remain fully focused on the business and ensuring that the day-to-day operations are conducted as normal.

“However, the appointment, if made, could result in the Company incurring material costs.

Further announcements will be made in due course, as appropriate.

In addition to the Independent titles and the Herald, INM also publishes the Sunday World, Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life and The Star – as well as regional papers like the Drogheda Independent, Wexford People and The Kerrryman.

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