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Tycoon O'Brien sues Revenue over tax affairs 'privacy breach' Billionaire says details 'given to media'.


DENIS O'Brien is suing the Revenue Commissioners claiming they breached his privacy by giving details of his tax affairs to the media.

The billionaire maintains the alleged disclosure arose from a document provided to some news outlets during a case arising out of his tax liability for 1999/2000 relating to the sale of his shares in Esat Telecom to British Telecom.

The Revenue deny his claims and say almost all the information came from a public High Court hearing.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said the case arose out of an appeal by Mr O'Brien against a tax assessment raised by Revenue. The matter went to the High Court to determine whether an Appeals Commissioner was correct in holding that a house he owned in Dublin was not his permanent home for the relevant tax year.

In September 2013, Justice Mary Laffoy ruled Mr O'Brien's permanent home in the tax year 2000/2001 was Quinta do Lago, Portugal and not Ballsbridge, South Dublin.

Mr O'Brien then sued Revenue, one of its inspectors of taxes, Michael K Brennan, and Revenue solicitor Etain Croasdell, claiming the disclosure breached his constitutional right to privacy.

He claimed articles in the Sunday Business Post, Sunday Independent and Sunday Times contained information on his private tax affairs which related to matters which did not emerge in public hearings.

He alleged the Sunday Independent article contained information not opened in court.

The Sunday Times had information and photographs said to have been taken from the "case stated" before the High Court.

It also had a quote from "a source" saying the reason it took so long for the case to reach court was because of disagreement over the wording used to refer the case to the court. Mr O'Brien said Revenue owed him a duty of care not to disclose his confidential information and Mr Brennan and Ms Croasdell owed a similar duty.

Justice Paul McDermott ordered Revenue, in advance of the main case, to provide discovery of certain information to Mr O'Brien concerning disclosures made to the media. He refused discovery in relation to certain other categories of information. Revenue said it regarded the release of a copy of the case state details to be entirely proper.


CASE Denis O'Brien

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2016
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