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Saturday 7 December 2019

'The Viper' forced to repay CAB €740k as he loses tax bill appeal

Dublin criminal Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley lost his tax appeal
Dublin criminal Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley lost his tax appeal

Veteran Dublin criminal Martin 'The Viper' Foley will have to repay nearly €740,000 after losing an appeal against a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) tax demand over a 1990s income tax bill.

'The Viper' claimed he had been "taken by surprise", was left in "an almost impossible situation" and the CAB had failed to explain why it took 11 years to bring the judgment application.

Foley (66) is one of Ireland's most notorious criminals, who has survived four attacks on his life and has at least 14 bullet wounds.

He had been feuding with the gang led by drugs trafficker John Gilligan in the 1990s but has continued to run into trouble since that time.

He will now have to pay a CAB tax and interest bill, which has ballooned to over €738,000 for the years 1993/94 and 1999/2000. 'The Viper' was hit with a tax bill of €218,000 for the 1993/94 and 1999/2000.

He made payments totalling €40,000, reducing the bill to €178,000. In February 2002, he brought an appeal against the assessment, which was rejected.

However, the bill has ballooned because of interest and penalties on the unpaid sum over more than 11 years.

The Court of Appeal (CoA) ruled yesterday he had "no case" and dismissed his appeal.

It also said it is well known and a matter of public policy that citizens should pay their taxes in a timely manner.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Marie Baker said 'The Viper' is believed to have engaged in criminal activity and "enjoyed substantial gains" from this and "other unknown sources".

Ms Justice Baker, on behalf of the three-judge appeal court, said there was no basis for any confidence on his part that he would not be pursued for the tax.

While an 11-year delay in the CAB bringing proceedings was arguably inordinate, he had not discharged the onus for proving that it was inexcusable.

The judge did not believe that the 11-year delay in proceedings was inexcusable because of his obligation to pay the tax quickly, the level of his knowledge of that bill and the absence of any specific prejudice other than the size of the bill itself.

"He (Foley) well knew that he had an unpaid bill for taxes due, he well knew that interest was accruing, he had no basis for believing those taxes would not ultimately be pursued and so it was totally within his power at every stage to stop the interest clock from running and to cap the interest bill," the CoA said.

Demand

He was assessed for a total income tax for 1993-94 and 1999-2000 at €218,000 (IR£172,000).

He then appealed and submitted returns, claiming his actual income for the two years was €72,000 and the tax due was just €19,000.

The criminal also paid off a small amount of the demand which was a requirement of being allowed to appeal.

This was refused and he brought another appeal to the Revenue Appeal Commissioner, also submitting revised returns saying his income for the two years involved now was €133,000 and his tax bill should be around €50,000.

He made four further payments which brought down the original tax bill to €178,000.

The Appeal Commissioner also rejected his appeal and he did not appeal the matter further to the Circuit Court or bring a High Court challenge as he was entitled to do.

It continued not to be paid and in 2013 the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) sued him for €881,000, including the outstanding €178,000 and nearly €634,000 in interest accrued between 2002, when he made his last appeal, and 2013.

The High Court granted summary judgment for the total bill and he then brought an appeal against that, claiming he had been unduly prejudiced by the CAB's 11-year delay in bringing the judgment proceedings.

The High Court rejected the challenge and he appealed saying that court had, among other things, erred on the facts and in law and failed to attribute sufficient weight to CAB's delay in prosecuting the case.

However, CAB opposed the appeal.

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