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Lowry: Payment in taped conversation was tax compliant

A tape recording of a conversation said to have taken place during the Moriarty Tribunal was given to a national newspaper, in which Lowry said the money wasn’t declared.

TD Michael Lowry
TD Michael Lowry
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Updated: 8pm

MICHAEL LOWRY HAS responded to an article published today that centred on a 2004 phone call between him and the Northern Ireland-based land agent Kevin Phelan while the Moriarty Tribunal was ongoing.

The article was published in today’s Sunday Independent and written by Elaine Byrne and Gene Kerrigan.

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.

Statement

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’.

Glebe Trust owend a company set up by Phelan, called Westferry, which was sold to Denis O’Brien, who used it to buy Doncaster Rovers and the site on which its grounds were located.

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.

Read: Lowry amends declarations of interest after Dáil committee’s ruling>

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