Longest disqualifications from acting as directors of firms handed down to 3 Company Directors
This record disqualification is a very clear warning to Company Directors. They need to be conscious of penalties and the benefit getting qualified legal advice on ALL aspects of their business, company law and compliance.
RTE Report –
The longest disqualification in the history of company law has been handed down by the High Court against a director of a collapsed investment firm who was found to have misappropriated €66.5m in client funds.
Two other directors of Custom House Capital (CHC) were also given lengthy disqualifications from acting as directors of firms.
Mr Justice David Keane said former CEO Harry Cassidy should be disqualified for 14 years, a record disqualification, the longest ever handed down by the High Court, while investment director John Whyte received a ten-year disqualification, and non-executive director John Mulholland was banned for 12 years.
Mr Justice Keane said the appropriate disqualification period should be 15 years, but he reduced that in each case to take account of mitigating factors. He said the conduct of all three was “deeply dishonest, continued over a protracted period of time until, for a variety of reasons, it could no longer be concealed”. He said it was “devastating in its impact on those innocent persons who had the grave misfortune to entrust the company with their pensions or savings”.
The case will come back before the courts next year for costs and to allow Mr Mulholland apply to have his disqualification period backdated.
CHC was liquidated in 2011 after a High Court-appointed investigation by two Central Bank inspectors found the “systemic and deliberate misuse” of clients’ money, the majority of which represented transfers to syndicated property investments.
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