The list of tax defaulters for April 1st to June 30th of this year was published by the Revenue Commission today.
First eye-catching name, Colm Carroll, who was fined a whopping €2,200. Carroll is a retired solicitor who had a very interesting career.
He was a principal partner in Dublin firm, Roger Greene & Sons with Henry Colley (son of late FF deputy leader George Colley), which the regulatory department of the Law Society began investigating in 2003.
What came thereafter was detailed by Carol Coulter in The Irish Times far better than I could: accounting shortfalls of €197,000, liabilities “disappearing”, €32m lodged over 3 years into undisclosed bank accounts, swiss bank accounts, these boys had it all. I encourage you to read that link when you get a chance.
They didn’t do it to get one over on their clients but to rather facilitate the under-declaration of income and tax. On the taxpayer, so.
Following the investigation they were suspended and came before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) charged with misconduct. Notably, in the interim they sued the HSE for unpaid fees of €3.2m. The Law Society wanted them struck off. SDT ruled otherwise. The Society took it to the High Court.
I believe that somewhere around this point they made a settlement of €7m with Revenue and each paid €50,000 to the Law Society Compensation Fund. Thanks lads.
In the High Court Mr Justice McKechnie noted “multiple and extremely serious” breaches of regulations, their “deceit” towards the Law Society, and at least 50 “orchestrated, intentional and conscious acts of misconduct”. But he refused to strike them off too. Why? Well, in short, because they admitted it all.
The Law Society, fair play to them, took it to the Supreme Court for the first time in the history of the State. However, the Supreme Court cannot overrule a High Court judgment unless the High Court judge had made a mistake in the law. The judge had not made a mistake.
So they weren’t stuck off.
They then sought costs totaling €100,000 from the Law Society for The Supreme Court case, and won.
That was a few months ago. Mr Carroll is retired, I’m not sure what Mr Colley is doing.
Further reading, all from The Irish Times —
Solicitors blocked efforts to get data on accounts
Law Society appeal refusal to strike off solicitors
Solicitors sue HSE over unpaid fees
Supreme Court refuses to strike off solicitors
Solicitors win order on costs
If you note any other interesting names in the list do feel free to send them on to tips @ thestory DOT ie