The Chief Operations Officer of a now liquidated Kildare firm that provided cash in transit and other security services has been ordered to return €62,000 to the company.
On Friday afternoon last at the High Court in Dublin, November 8, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor directed Mr James, otherwise known as Jim Farrell, to repay the money to Business Mobile Security Services Ltd (BMSS), which is the holding company of Senaca, which was wound up due to cash flow problems last July.
Insolvency practitioner Mr Joe Walsh of JW Accountants was appointed as the firm’s liquidator.
Mr Walsh, represented by Stephen Brady Bl, claims that following his investigations into the company’s affairs, there is a deficit of approximately €1.8m in the firm’s client account.
The company, with a registered address at Tougher Business Park, Newhall, Naas, Co Kildare, had originally acknowledged deficit of €1m in the firm’s client account.
The Revenue Commissioners are owed over €670,000 by the company.
Clients of the company who claim they are also owed money include charities the Irish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Horse Racing Ireland.
Previously, the court was told that Mr Farrell had admitted in a sworn statement that clients' monies had been used to shore up the company and that he apologised for that.
The court also heard that following a complaint to the gardai there is a criminal investigation into the company’s affairs.
The case has been before the courts on several occasions since the firm was wound up.
On Friday, Mr Justice O’Connor was told that as part of his investigations Mr Walsh discovered that in the weeks before the company went into liquidation monies totalling almost €62,000 were paid out of the company to Mr Farrell.
Counsel said it is his client’s case that Mr Farrell is a de facto or shadow director of the firm.
Counsel said on discovering the payments Mr Walsh sought an explanation for this from Mr Farrell. Counsel said Mr Farrell said the monies came from third parties and were used as loans to the company following a difficult period in 2017.
Mr Farrell, who denies any impropriety in regards to those payments, said that the money was used to repay the loans to the third parties.
Counsel said that Mr Walsh was not satisfied with the explanation advanced by Mr Farrell and could not find documentary evidence to fully support Mr Farrell’s claims.
Counsel said that it is Mr Walsh’s case that the monies belong to the company, and sought an order under the 2014 Companies Act that it be repaid.
In his ruling, Mr Justice O’Connor said he was satisfied that the payment of the €62,000 amounted to “an unfair preference” to a purported creditor of the company, and was therefore invalid.
The Judge directed that the €62,000 be repaid to the company forthwith. The Judge said that he was not making a finding that Mr Farrell is a creditor of the company, adding that was a matter for the liquidator.
Mr Farrell was not present at court, however Mr Justice O’Connor said he was satisfied that he had been served with all the relevant documents and was aware of the liquidator’s application before the court.
As well as providing a cash-in-transit service Senaca also supplied security personnel to Shell, during the construction of a highly controversial gas pipeline and refinery at Bellanaboy in Co Mayo some years ago.