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High Court says businessman in tax affairs case can be named as Denis O'Brien

Yesterday, Justice O’Malley ordered that only the man’s initials could be published.
Jan 13th 2016, 11:40 AM 22,176 0

BUSINESSMAN DENIS O’BRIEN, who lost an appeal against a Circuit Court decision aiming to stop Revenue investigating an alleged negligent tax return can be named, the High Court ruled today

Yesterday, Justice Iseult O’Malley said the businessman can only be identified by using his initials, DOB.

However, this morning, Martin Hayden SC for O’Brien said that his client had no objection to the publication of his name.

Yesterday, counsel for Revenue, Úna Tighe, argued that the businessman should be named as his tax appeal had been brought before the High Court and can be heard in public, arguing the law did not allow for his name to be withheld.

The case relates to tax-return dating back 16 years.

O’Brien is seeking to have a Revenue investigation stopped into his tax return from 1999/2000 as the authority can only investigate tax returns made up till four years ago.

The Revenue’s code of practice states that where there are reasonable grounds for believing that a return is incorrect due to its having been completed in a fraudulent or negligent manner, a compliance intervention can be made for any period irrespective of the expiry of the 4 year statutory limit. 

O’Brien is challenging the Revenue’s right to carry out an investigation of him under the 1997 Taxes Consolidation Act. However, Revenue maintains the investigation is lawful.

Judge O’Malley said that anonymity didn’t apply and he can be named in the normal way.

The case has been put back until the 26 January for costs.

Additional reporting Ronan Duffy.

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Christina Finn

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