A car dealer jailed for interfering in the work of a bankruptcy trustee is the beneficial owner of a pub property his wife allegedly owns, a judge has found.
he High Court dismissed claims by Lucy Pinfold, wife of John Alex Kane, that she used her own funds to purchase the Co Cavan estate.
The court must now decide whether the premises can be confiscated and sold to comply with a €4.9million judgment the Revenue Commissioners obtained against Mr Kane for unpaid tax on car sales.
In a written ruling, Judge Anthony Barr said Ms Pinfold’s account of how she amassed €25,000 to fund part of the purchase was “not credible” and “very substantial deposits” into her credit union account were likely income from her husband’s business activities.
It is the second time that the High Court has rejected claims by Ms Pinfold that she owned property that actually belonged to her husband.
Mr Kane, 47, of Cartron, Granard, Co. Longford, was sentenced to two months in prison in January for contempt after violating orders prohibiting him from obstructing the work of recipient Myles Kirby of Kirby Healy Chartered Accountants.
The bankruptcy trustee has claimed Mr Kane was behind a long-running campaign of harassment, intimidation, criminal harm and animal feed poisoning aimed at disrupting the sale of 14 bankrupt properties, most of which have since been sold.
The claims were disputed by Mr Kane, who formerly ran Kanes of Granard’s engine sales business.
The earnings have haunted him since 2009 because of his €4.9 million debt, made up of more than €3 million in unpaid VAT and nearly €1.9 million in interest.
Last month the court heard an application from Mr Kirby, who was seeking to be appointed receiver of The Bent Elbow, a former public house in Stradone, Co Cavan, claiming it was beneficially owned by Mr Kane.
Ms Pinfold was the registered owner of the property and claimed she used €44,000 of her own funds to purchase it in November 2015.
The following year planning permission was obtained for the conversion of the premises from a pub to a garage and some conversion work was carried out.
In an affidavit, Tax Inspector John Magee said there was no evidence Mrs Pinfold ever had enough money to buy the pub.
He said Revenue believed the deal was funded by undisclosed auto sales andin all likelihood, the purchase was part of Mr. Kane’s efforts to rebuild his car sales business.
Ms Pinfold claimed in an affidavit that she accrued the sale price from earnings as an office clerk and car sales manager, rental income, child support payments and the sale of a tractor.
She claimed Mr Magee’s conclusions were based on conjecture. She also claimed that her family had been subjected to an aggressive investigative campaign and that it had not been easy to keep their affairs organized in times of stress and pressure.
However, Mr. Magee said An examination of the material she exhibited revealed that she did not have sufficient income to accumulate the savings she allegedly amassed.
Mr Justice Barr said he accepted Mr Magee’s evidence and was not convinced by Ms Pinfold’s account.
He described Ms Pinfold’s claims that she made a profit of €25,000 on the sale of a tractor as “not credible”.
The judge also said he was satisfied that Mr. Kane was the true beneficial owner.
But the judge said he needed to get evidence of how much of the €4.9million judgment was still unfulfilled before he could issue orders to appoint Mr Kirby as receiver over the property.
The matter was adjourned in order to issue affidavits on the matter.
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