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John Delaney seeks extra time to inspect documents seized by ODCE

Documents and a digital device containing 270,000 files were seized from the FAI’s offices last February.

FORMER FAI CEO John Delaney has been ordered by a Judge to provide the High Court with a sworn statement outlining what steps he has taken regarding the inspection of files seized by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

The order was made by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds after she was informed by Delaney’s lawyers that he requires extension of time to inspect files the corporate watchdog is examining as part of its investigation into certain matters concerning the FAI.

Some 13 documents and a digital device containing 270,000 separate files including the former CEO’s emails, were seized from the FAI’s offices at Abbottstown on foot of a search warrant last February.

Last month the High court heard the ODCE and Delaney had reached an agreement over how the inspection of those materials is to be conducted.

In proceedings against the FAI, the ODCE wants to inspect these documents to see if they are relevant to the investigation.

Steps were agreed between the parties to allow Delaney, who left the FAI last September, to inspect and identify any material on the device or in the documents which he claims are private to him.

The inspection process commenced earlier this week, and under a timetable approved by the court was due to be completed by late July.

The matter was then to go before the judge to consider if any of seized documents and material are legally privileged and cannot be used by the ODCE in its investigation.

Delaney was joined as a notice party to proceedings because some of the material taken may be private to him.

The matter returned before the court on today when Jack Tchrakian BL for Delaney said his client, who is currently living and working in the UK, required a time extension in order to complete the process due to the large volume of files involved.

Counsel said that due to travel restrictions Delaney did not attend at the ODCE’s offices.

However, Delaney’s solicitor Mr Aidan Eames had spent three days inspecting files, and the former CEO had been assisting remotely.

Counsel, who said that his client did not know how many documents were contained on the device till early July, added he did not know at this point how long of an extension was required.

Counsel said his client had hired an IT expert who would in the coming days be in a better position to say how much additional time would be required to complete the inspection.

In reply, Kerida Naidoo SC, appearing with Elva Duffy Bl for the ODCE, said that his side was concerned about the application and were opposing any application by Mr Delaney to extend the time period.

Ms Justice Reynolds expressed her concern at the application to extend time, which would delay the process.

The judge said that when the matter had been previously before the court the method of inspection and the timetable for its completion had been agreed by all parties.

She added that the court had previously been told the court Delaney would attend at the offices of the ODCE, then it was told that he would assist the inspection remotely.

The Judge added that she was not prepared to consider the time extension until certain matters are clarified.

The court was not clear as to what assistance Delaney, who she said was the person best placed to assist in the inspection of the material contained on the electronic device, has provided in relation to the inspection.

The court was also being told of the first time that a forensic IT expert had been engaged on Mr Delaney’s behalf, the Judge added.

In the circumstances, the court required sworn statements from Delaney clarifying how he has assisted the inspection process to date, and a sown statement from the IT expert.

The judge said that those statements should be provided to the ODCE in the next few days and adjourned the matter for a week.

Aodhan O Faolain