Tag Archives: INM

Cormac Bourke

Cormac Bourke tweetz:

After five incredible years as editor of the Sunday Independent it is time for a new challenge. I am pleased to say I am now editor of the Irish Independent and editor of independent.ie (with all the great journalism of the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent).

Anyone?

Poster for INM’s cyber security conference at Dublin’s RDS today; Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon

Independent News and Media is hosting a cyber security conference in Dublin’s RDS today.

At 12.15pm, INM’s Technology Editor Adrian Weckler will speak with Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon.

According to the conference agenda, they will discuss:

Tackling the power and reach of the big tech companies in our society.

How to protect people’s privacy and personal security in an era when everything is online.

Making sure that individuals know and exercise their rights.

Navigating international law and geopolitics when legislatures, courts and cultures clash.

Companies’ rights and responsibilities when it comes to data breaches and making mistakes.

*Cough*

Not the first time, mind.

Related: Data Commissioner dismisses conflict of interest in addressing INM data conference (Irish Examiner, April 9, 2018)

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: A Serious Judgement Call

Pic: Cormac Bourke

Thomas Leyson, chairman of Madiahaus which has purchased Denis O’Brien and Dermot Desmond’s shareholdings in Independent News and media

Taking control of Ireland’s biggest media group…

Who is he?

The Belgian-Dutch company has only existed since 2013, but has deep roots in the countries’ newspaper industries. Mediahuis chairman, Thomas Leysen, is one of Belgium’s best-known businessmen, from a family of entrepreneurs and industrialists in sectors such as maritime, industrial cleaning and media.

The 58-year-old is also chairman of KBC Bank, one of Belgium’s biggest, and on the steering committee of the international Bilderberg group of corporate and government leaders. He is also a Member at European Round Table of Industrialists,at The Trilateral Commission

Lizards, dude.

Mediahaus Exapads Beyond Core Dutch Market (FT)

Meanwhile

Eoin writes:

Plenty of column inches about the acquisition by Mediahuis (a name that will have been unfamiliar to 99% of Irish journos before yesterday morning) of INM.

No word on how Mediahuis is financing the deal.

No word on the approval process for the acquisition, but Richard Bruton will have a role.

Little analysis on why Mediahuis is buying a pig in a poke with all the potential for litigation against INM by thousands of people whose data was hacked.

Little mention about the chairman of Mediahuis being the chairman of KBC, the bank behind a string of controversial evictions in Ireland and which still has a problematic loanbook to resolve

Little analysis of the value of INM, with €25m current annual profit, €80m of cash in its balance sheet, is €146m a good price?

Anyone?

Yesterday: Dexit

The €145.4m price represents a 44% premium on its share price before INM announced it was in takeover talks.

Founded in 2013, Mediahuis is a private European media group with a strong portfolio of news media and digital brands.

It has grown rapidly through acquisitions to become a leading media player in both Belgium and the Netherlands and currently employs more than 3,200 people.

Mediahuis agrees €146m deal for Independent News & Media (RTÉ)

….INM’s chief executive Michael Doorly had raised the prospect of a sale in meetings with the Dublin investment community this week.

Sources were saying German media group Axel Springer had taken a look at INM in the past, while Norwegian group Schibsted has also been rumoured to have an interest.

INM confirms possible takeover approach (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

Laura Slattery, in The Irish Times, reports:

Independent News & Media (INM) is seeking about 35 redundancies, with the majority of the job losses expected to come from the editorial side of its operation.

The newspaper and website publisher is understood to have opened up a voluntary redundancy scheme with the expectation that about 25 journalists will leave the company as a result. A spokesman for INM declined to comment.

News publisher INM seeks about 35 redundancies (The Irish Times)

From top: CEO of INM Michael Doorly and former chairman of INM Leslie Buckley; emails between Mr Doorly and Mr Buckley in 2014

At a meeting on Wednesday, following further revelations about data breaches at Independent News and Media (INM), the group’s CEO Michael Doorly told staff he was “deeply concerned” by the developments.

In mid-2015, hard drives of up to six editors in INM were allegedly taken in the middle of the night and copied before being returned to the journalists’ desks before they got into work – on the alleged orders of then CEO Robert Pitt.

Of Mr Pitt’s alleged actions, Mr Doorly reportedly told staff:

“It is an allegation at the moment. I hate to think that a CEO would have done this.

This alleged breach is in addition to searches made, a year earlier, at the behest of former Chairman Leslie Buckley ostensibly to evaluate the cost benefit of of retaining Simon McAleese Solicitors.

The Sunday Business Post reported last April that Mr Doorly, then Company Secretary, was involved in helping source correspondence pertaining to Mr McAleese.

Emails (above) tweeted by Irish Times journalist Simon Carswell yesterday, show Mr Doorly’s contacting Leslie Buckley in August, 2014.

In one, Mr Doorly tells Mr Buckley that his trawl has included a screengrab taken ‘around the time of the investigation’ of “all of Gavin O’Reilly emails that were in Joe Webb’s mailbox”

This is a reference to former INM CEO Gavin O’Reilly and Joe Webb, former head of Independent News & Media’s Irish operations.

Mr O’ Reilly had left the company in 2012. Mr Webb in 2013.

At the staff meeting on Wednesday, Mr Doorly assured staff:

“Anything that hurts the reputation of this organisation is not acceptable. I will do everything I can to restore confidence and resolve this issue and protect the good names of all who work here. This is a core personal priority of mine.”

Previously:We Shall Fight Them On The Breaches

Look Hack In Anger

Pics: Rollingnews and Simon Carswell

From top (from left):  former chairman of INM Leslie Buckley; INM’s largest shareholder Denis O’Brien; IT expert Derek Mizak; former INM CEO Robert Pitt

There were  a number of developments in the INM data breach story over the weekend.

Earlier this year, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) asked the High Court to appoint inspectors to investigate Independent News and Media (INM), the largest shareholder of which is Denis O’Brien, following protected disclosures made to it by former Group CEO of INM Robert Pitt and former Group CFO Ryan Preston.

This was granted by Mr Justice Peter Kelly in the High Court in September with Justice Kelly appointing Richard Fleck and Seán Gillane to investigate the claims.

An affidavit filed by ODCE director Ian Drennan claimed data involving 19 listed people was removed from the company’s premises in October 2014, taken out of the jurisdiction and “interrogated” by at least six companies external to INM.

IT expert and director of the information security and digital forensics firm DMZ IT Derek Mizak was allegedly involved in this interrogation, along with Trusted Data Solutions (TDS), an American company based in Wales.

The list included Jerry Healy SC and Jacqueline O’Brien SC (both of whom acted as counsel for the Moriarty Tribunal) as well as former INM board members and employees Karl Brophy, Mandy Scott, Vincent Crowley, Donal Buggy, Joe Webb and James Osborne; journalists Sam Smyth, Maeve Sheehan, Brendan O’Connor; and public relations executive Rory Godson.

Approximately €60,000 was paid by Blaydon Limited, an Isle of Man company owned by Denis O’Brien, to Trusted Data Solutions, according to Ian Drennan, the Director of the Office of Corporate Enforcement, in relation to this alleged interrogation.

Separately, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) also announced earlier this year that it would also investigate the alleged data breach at INM.

Yesterday, in the Sunday Business Post, Tom Lyons reported that the ODPC will now widen its investigation into INM to include matters beyond the timespan of the alleged breach.

Mr Lyons reported the ODPC will specifically look at why, in 2015, hard drives of up to six editors in INM were allegedly taken by INM in the middle of the night and copied before being returned to the journalists’ desks before they got into work – while using software to hide the fact data had been copied.

Mr Mizak was also involved in this alleged action.

Mr Lyons reported:

“The decision to search the six computers was requested by INM’s then chief executive Robert Pitt, who was trying to identify who had leaked a memo that his personal assistant had sent to editors. The memo ended up being reprinted verbatim in the Phoenix magazine.

Pitt is understood to have asked that all data be kept on site in INM, and that only the memo be looked for. However, Derek Mizak, a computer expert who carried out the operation with the aid of INM’s own IT team, gives a different version of events. He describes various interactions with Pitt, which INM’s former chief executive is believed not to recall.

Mr Lyons added:

“Pitt is one of two whistleblowers relied on by the ODCE when it successfully argued that High Court inspectors should be appointed to INM. Why the 2015 incident has not emerged in any affidavit to date is unclear.”

In addition, back in 2013, (before Pitt was INM’s CEO) INM’s then chairman Leslie Buckley asked Mizak for a report on emails that were allegedly being sent by a number of INM members – including former head of corporate affairs at INM Karl Brophy and former CEO of INM Gavin O’Reilly – to their private email addresses.

Mr Lyons noted:

“There is no suggestion of wrongdoing in anyone forwarding INM emails to their private addresses, and the media group never took any action as a result.”

Of this work allegedly carried out by Mr Mizak, Mr Lyons reported:

“INM did not ask for an invoice from DMZ. Neither did DMZ bill the listed media company. No written instruction setting out what work DMZ was to do was ever produced. Notes were taken, but these were destroyed afterwards by DMZ as was its practice when jobs concluded.”

Mr Lyons reported that INM declined to respond to questions as to why “it had not told the High Court so far about all of its interactions with Mizak”.

He also reported:

“INM is on notice from a number of parties who wish to find out what happened to their data, including Brophy, [Joe] Webb, Gavin O’Reilly and the journalist Sam Smyth.

“A number of former staff, including various journalists, have also written to the company to try and find out if their data was looked at. Much remains to unravel as the ever more disturbing investigation rumbles on.”

Chateau intrigue: Inside the INM data saga (Tom Lyons, Sunday Business Post)

Investigation into INM data deepens amid fresh privacy concerns (Tom Lyons, Sunday Business Post)

Previously: Look Hack In Anger

From top: Crime journalist Paul Williams (centre), of the Irish Independent, and Det Supt John O’Reilly attending the Disclosures Tribunal last Summer

Further to the release of the Disclosures Tribunal report yesterday,

Justice Peter Charleton took time in his report to concentrate on the work of journalist Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent.

Mr Williams wrote several articles about Ms D and her 2006 “dry humping” allegation against Sgt Maurice McCabe in April and May 2014 – after interviewing Ms D in March 2014.

The central focus of the series of articles was Ms D’s unhappiness with the Garda investigation into her 2006 complaint, which was carried out by Supt Noel Cunningham.

In 2007, the DPP ruled that there was no basis for any prosecution in regards to Ms D’s complaint and Judge Charleton, having read Supt Cunningham’s investigation report, repeatedly told the tribunal that his investigation was “a model of efficiency and fairness”.

Mr Williams didn’t name Sgt McCabe or Ms D but many witnesses at the tribunal said they knew the articles were about Sgt McCabe.

Sgt McCabe himself told the tribunal he knew they were about him and received phone calls from people relaying the same.

The provenance of Mr Williams’ articles came about via Det Supt John O’Reilly, a friend of Mr Williams, who was the conduit for contact between Mr D and Mr Williams.

Det Supt O’Reilly knew Mr Williams through work as Mr Williams, Judge Charleton noted, “had spent a considerable time under police protection”.

Det Supt O’Reilly was a family friend of the D family for many years.

The tribunal heard differing evidence from Mr D and Det Supt O’Reilly as to who suggested to whom that Ms D talk to Mr Williams – after Irish Mail on Sunday journalist Debbie McCann and Irish Sun journalist Eavan Murray had called to the D house – but the judge found:

“The tribunal does not accept that any idea about talking to the media or any idea as to a suitable person within the media came from anyone other than Mr D.”

Det Supt O’Reilly told the tribunal in evidence that he subsequently believed that his setting up of contact between Mr Williams and Mr D was “unwise”.

But Judge Charleton went further, finding:

“It did no service to anyone. It caused further and completely unjustified pain to Maurice McCabe and to his family. The right advice from Detective Superintendent O’Reilly would have been to leave matters that belong in the past to the past; that is even supposing that some event had occurred.

“It should be remembered that he was a policeman. Why did Detective Superintendent O’Reilly not support the integrity and thoroughness of his honest police inquiries? Why did he imagine that there could be anything wrong with the investigation?

“Given that a thorough investigation had been undertaken, and that over fifteen years had passed since the time of the alleged event, nothing positive could have come out of this. Nothing positive did come of it.”

Paul Williams eventually interviewed Ms D on March 8, 2014.

The tribunal accepted Mr Williams’ evidence that when he met Ms D in March 2014, he had not heard about the false rape allegation which had been erroneously created back in August 2013 and was, in March 2014, sitting in a cabinet file in TUSLA.

He only knew what Ms D told him which was the original 2006 allegation.

Mr Williams’ first article published on April 12, 2014, headlined “Girl wants new probe into alleged sex assault by Garda” detailed Ms D’s dissatisfaction with the 2006/2007 investigation, as she saw it.

Judge Charleton criticised Mr Williams for not including input or seeking any response from either Sgt McCabe or Supt Noel Cunningham, who investigated the 2006 complaint, for the article.

Judge Charleton found:

“Given the widespread nature of the rumours, it was clear to people who knew about the allegation that it referred to Maurice McCabe and alleged a poor investigation. Certainly, almost everyone who actually read these articles, whether in journalism or police work, put two and two together. There would also have been a not insignificant number of them in Garda Headquarters.”

On April 15, 2014, Ms Williams published a second article about Ms D.

Headlined “Alleged Garda sex victim wants to meet Martin”, it was about how Ms D wanted to meet Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin.

After this article, Mr Williams facilitated this meeting between Ms D and Mr Martin.

On April 16, 2014, his third artlcle headlined “FF leader to meet woman at centre of claims she was abused by Garda” was published.

And on April 30, 2014, Mr Williams collected Ms D from a train station and drove her to the Dáil where she met Mr Martin.

On May 3, 2014, a fourth article appeared headlined “Kenny to set up probe into Garda sex abuse claims”.

Mr Williams said this was based on him getting confirmation from Mr Martin’s office that a letter in relation to his meeting with Ms D had been passed on to the office of An Taoiseach.

Judge Charleton found:

“While it had been, this did not mean that An Taoiseach was proposing to do anything about it and so the article could, be described as speculative.”

And, again, Judge Charleton stated Mr Williams should have contacted either Sgt McCabe or those who were involved in the investigation of Ms D’s complaint in 2006/2007, saying:

“They would have constituted unwelcome attention in the shape of a clear identification of Maurice McCabe by those who were aware of the Ms D matter and the return of an allegation long since dealt with.”

Although Mr Williams did not make contact with either Sgt McCabe or Supt Cunningham before writing his series of articles, Mr Williams did speak with the then Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor.

There was conflicting evidence given to the tribunal about their interaction.

Supt Taylor told the tribunal that Mr Williams, in March 2014, rang him up and said “guess where I am?” before telling Supt Taylor he was at the D household, that Sgt McCabe had ruined Ms D’s life and that he was going to write a damaging article about Sgt McCabe.

Supt Taylor claimed he passed this information on to then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and then Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

Mr Williams had denied this when he gave evidence and said he had asked Supt Taylor a set of questions about the Ms D case and was told by Supt Taylor that “the investigation had taken place, a file has been sent to the DPP and there were no charges”.

Judge Charleton accepted Mr Williams’ evidence and rejected that of Supt Taylor, saying:

There would not be the slightest reason for Paul Williams to curry some kind of favour with the Garda Press Office by gleefully announcing the news that bad news was imminent for Maurice McCabe. That does not fit with the evidence, or with the character, of Paul Williams.”

Ms D made a complaint about the investigation into her 2006/2007 allegation to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission on April 29, 2014 – days before, unbeknownst to Ms D, the false rape allegation which was sitting in a cabinet file in TUSLA was randomly plucked out and circulated to An Garda Síochána and eventually presented as a true allegation to the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

It remained in Garda HQ until February 2017.

The tribunal heard that the idea of making a complaint to GSOC was something Ms D had discussed with Mr Williams during their interview in March 2014.

But, Judge Charleton found “he [Williams] did not in any way or at all lead her into making this further complaint”.

Mr Williams was one of the 12 journalists whom Supt Taylor claimed he “negatively briefed” against Sgt McCabe.

As mentioned above, Judge Charleton accepted Mr Williams evidence – that Supt Taylor told him that a complaint had been made, a file went to the DPP and there were no charges – but did not find that Supt Taylor “negatively briefed” Mr Williams.

Judge Charleton found:

“While Superintendent Taylor claims, in typically laconic form used in relation to any evidence that might have supported his claims, that he briefed Paul Williams negatively against Maurice McCabe, no details of this, as usual, were supplied and the tribunal does not believe him.”

Meanwhile…

Dublin City University professor Colum Kenny

On March 2, 2014 – just over a month before Mr Williams’ first article on Ms D and days before Mr Williams first met Ms D – journalist and Dublin City University professor Colum Kenny wrote an article in the Sunday Independent about Sgt McCabe and how he had been wrongly blamed for the disappearance of a seized computer central to a sex abuse case.

In the article, he made the following reference to the Ms D allegation:

“It is understood that Sgt McCabe has also been subjected to a serious accusation by a senior garda that was subsequently referred by gardai to the DPP, who found no basis on which to pursue the matter.”

When Mr Kenny gave evidence to the tribunal, he indicated that when sending the March 2 article for publication to the Sunday Independent, he had sent a document to INM’s lawyers outlining the DPP’s full directions against Sgt McCabe in order to verify what he was writing.

The tribunal didn’t specifically hear what this document was or specifically to whom it was sent or even specifically when it was sent.

Mr Kenny wasn’t asked these details.

Judge Charleton made no comment on this document in his report.

The report can be read in full here

Yesterday: Legal Coffee Drinker: Charleton Report – Conclusions

Justice Charleton On...

Previously: Maurice McCabe And INM: Part 1

Maurice McCabe And INM: Part 2

I Told INM Maurice Was Innocent

Rollingnews

Independent House on Talbot Street, Dublin 1

The Irish Examiner reports:

The media group Independent News and News (INM) says it will not appeal a ruling to appoint inspectors by the corporate watchdog.

It means inspectors from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) can take up their duties from today.

Costs were also awarded in favour of the ODCE.

INM not to appeal High Court ruling to appoint ODCE inspectors (Irish Examiner)

Yesterday: Legal Coffee Drinker: A Serious Judgement Call