Wednesday 16 January 2019

Barrister arrested and brought to court

BARRISTER Pat Russell was arrested and brought before the High Court in connection with proceedings over alleged misappropriation of €580,000, part of which was to clear another man's tax liabilities.

Mr Russell, who is also a tax advisor and is living in Manchester, was told he was free to go by Mr Justice John Quirke after he agreed to provide a statement of his financial affairs to the court within two weeks.

The case yesterday arose after Patrick Griffin (66), a professional musician, of Knock-simon, Killucan, Co Westmeath, claimed he made a voluntary disclosure to the Revenue in early 2007 and employed Mr Russell to act as his tax consultant.

Mr Griffin, who is being pursued by the Revenue for €333,000, claims he had, on the advice of Mr Russell, transferred all his life savings of about €580,000 in various payments in 2007 and 2008 to Mr Russell and/or to the company he worked for, Emerald Consulting International (ECI), in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

He claims he understood Mr Russell had paid €243,560 to the Revenue out of the €580,000 under an agreed settlement with Revenue of Mr Griffin's tax liabilities.

He claims he later learned that sum was not paid and there were insufficient funds in accounts of Mr Russell or of ECI to clear cheques sent by Mr Russell to the Revenue to clear Mr Griffin's tax liabilities.

In January 2010, the Revenue secured judgment for €333,555 against Mr Griffin from the Master of the High Court. Mr Griffin has appealed that judgment order and is seeking to join Mr Russell to the proceedings.

On Monday, Mr Justice Quirke made an order directing that Mr Russell be attached and brought before the court to be asked about matters in connection with his financial affairs. Mr Russell was arrested and appeared before the judge yesterday afternoon.

Counsel for Mr Griffin said his client had given €580,000 to Mr Russell and asked him to settle his tax affairs with the Revenue but that was not done.

Mr Griffin had no other assets to pay the Revenue, counsel said.

The matter had been referred to the gardai and was "at an advanced stage", counsel added.

Representing himself, Mr Russell, who has a previous address at Steelstown, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, said he was "a bit confused" as to why he had been arrested and said he would have come to court voluntarily "if I was asked".


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