Alan Hynes denies being the cause of three companies’ collapse
Posted on 7th December 2021 at 20:57
Liquidator accuses businessman of doing ‘everything in his power to obfuscate and frustrate’
Businessman Alan Hynes has denied before the High Court that he was the cause of the demise of three companies at the centre of a liquidator’s efforts to recover assets and impose penalties over the running of the firms.
Mr Hynes gave evidence in the continuing action by liquidator Myles Kirby against him, his cousin Frank, Frank’s wife Martina, Alan’s UK-based brother-in-law Dr Adrian O’Reilly and a company called Tuskar Investment Group, which is owned by Dr O’Reilly.
The three Hyneses, who deny a number of claims including trying to defeat creditors, are representing themselves. Dr O’Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing in writing, is not participating in the trial before Mr Justice Michael Quinn.
Mr Kirby is liquidator of Tuskar Property Holdings, of which Alan was a director until 2009 when it became wholly owned by Dr O’Reilly. Mr Kirby is also liquidator of Hynes Jewellers Wexford Ltd and JW Fashions Ltd.
Hynes Jewellers lost its premises in 2016 over rent arrears. JW Fashions, which also operated as a jewellers, was then established in another premises just down the road from the old Hynes Jewellers premises on Main Street, Wexford. The liquidator says JW Fashions was a “phoenix-like entity”.
Alan Hynes, giving evidence by video link, disputed claims he was the cause of the demise, saying: “I believe the opposite to be true.”
He disputed the quantum of a €2.46 million temporary freezing order on company assets made last year.
He denied a claim that books and records were not kept. He argued that those records, which were taken in 2016 when Hynes Jewellers’ premises in Main Street, Wexford, was repossessed over rent arrears, were never returned.
He said that while he assisted Frank with financial matters, he never held himself out to be a director when he was disqualified or restricted from doing so.
He said he had made numerous efforts to engage with Mr Kirby but he had refused to do so.
He insisted that if he could get into a dialogue with Mr Kirby, he could clear up many issues including claims by the liquidator about payments for personal matters.
He disputed evidence given by his cousin Fiona Hynes, a director of Hynes Jewellers and JW Fashions, that she never consented to the transfer of her shares in Hynes Jewellers to Tuskar Property.
He said he was also disappointed with the evidence of Colm Sugrue, a former director of Tuskar Property, who told the court he was completely unaware of company accounts filed in his name, which he never signed, until it was brought to his attention by the liquidator.
He said he had done “everything I know” to try to bring this case to a resolution without the need for a trial.
Martina Hynes told the court records were fully kept and if they were returned they would show that everything was done above board and that neither she nor Frank took any personal money for themselves.
She did not know where the liquidator got the figures from but she and her husband never spent that money on themselves, she said.
Under cross-examination by David Whelan, for Mr Kirby, she accepted nearly €800,000 from the company was transferred to her and Frank’s personal account between January 2016 and January 2018, but she said this was meant to be short-term and all the money was repaid to the company.
She accepted in hindsight it should not have been put into the personal account but it was never for the purpose of hiding anything.
Mr Kirby, who was recalled to give evidence before cross-examination of Alan Hynes took place, said some of the claims Alan Hynes made were extraordinary and not supported by documents. This included his claim he did not know, after Tuskar Property had come out of receivership, and that the company was insolvent when he in fact signed off on audited accounts showing it had a €1.1million deficit.
Alan Hynes had admitted managing the affairs of the company only as an employee and did so “behind the mask of TPH (Tuskar Property) at a time when he was disqualified”, he said.
Far from co-operating, Alan Hynes had done “everything in his power to obfuscate and frustrate”, he said.
The claims of Frank and Martina in relation to not being able to get the books and records were simply extraordinary when it was within their power, and when they had sufficient company funds in the joint bank account, to discharge the liabilities to their landlord over the rent arrears, he said.
The case continues.
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