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Dublin: 15°C Thursday 19 May 2022

High noon at the High Court as judge to rule on appointing inspectors to investigate INM

The State’s corporate watchdog will finally learn if it can appoint inspectors to Independent News and Media this afternoon.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

A RULING WILL be made in the High Court today on whether or not inspectors from the State’s corporate watchdog will be appointed to investigate affairs at Independent News and Media (INM).

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) has sought for many months to have inspectors appointed, but that has been strongly resisted by INM.

The watchdog has claimed that it has unearthed a number of corporate governance issues while looking into, amongst other things, a suspected massive data breach at the company in 2014.

It has been claimed that staff members at the group – which owns titles such as The Irish Independent, The Herald and the Sunday World – had their data accessed by a third party without their knowledge.

Also under scrutiny is the alleged actions of former INM chairman Leslie Buckley regarding the prospective bid for radio station Newstalk (owned by INM’s largest shareholder Denis O’Brien) by the media company in late 2016.

That bid, broadly deemed to have valued Newstalk at a far greater level than its true value, eventually led to a protected disclosure by former INM CEO Robert Pitt to the ODCE, which in itself led to a year-long investigation into goings on at the company.

INM had previously sought to block the application from the ODCE via judicial review, but was unsuccessful.

High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly will deliver his decision on whether to appoint inspectors at 2pm today.

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With reporting from Cianan Brennan

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Sean Murray

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