Tag Archives: Mark Hollingsworth

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Mike Aynsley before {left) and after (right) working with IBRC

Via The Sunday Business Post:

In early 2012, Mike Aynsley, the chief executive of IBRC, threw down a gauntlet to the telecoms tycoon Denis O’Brien. The latter was on his way to a ‘weight loss camp’ in Crete, and Aynsley bet him that he could lose more weight while working for IBRC.

The winner agreed to pay €50 to charity for each kilogram that one man lost more than the other. It was a friendly competition that was mentioned to the bank’s chairman Alan Dukes, the former Fine Gael finance minister, who had no problem with it. The Australian career banker managed to lose twice as much weight as O’Brien, who had to hand over €350 to charity.

Right so.

Meanwhile, further to Senator Michael McDowell’s speech in the seanad concerning the relationship between Denis O’Brien and officials at IBRC…

Mr Aynsley saidL

“The anonymous blog [that’s us!]  that Mr McDowell referred to is just plain wrong on just about everything it raises, except for the fact that there was a dinner.

“My understanding is that Mr [Tom] Hunersen acted as an introducer to Mr O’Brien (and many others), who is known to invest in such projects [like Spritz].

Further, this was long after Mr Hunersen had left the bank and was no longer under any obligation to it – more than a year after he left in fact. From memory, I believe Mr Hunersen was bound in certain areas with respect to dealing with former clients for a period of only six months following his departure.

“Mr Woodhouse has no personal relationship or friendship that I know of with Mr O’Brien. . . but he has a very well-developed professional relationship with him that is expected of a senior relationship manager dealing with a large, performing bank client. Positive relationships between people feed cooperative and productive outcomes.”

Meanwhile…

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From top: Paddy McKillen; Mark Hollingsworth

A spokesperson for Paddy McKillen said McKillen was “absolutely not” involved in hiring Hollingsworth to come to Ireland. The Belfast property developer knew him all right, but in relation to an entirely separate matter more than a year earlier.

“During his British litigation in 2012-2014, Mark Hollingsworth was introduced to Paddy as a respected journalist who was carrying out research for a book he wanted to publish on British tax avoidance and some major British tax avoidance cases. Some of his research was relevant to Paddy’s British case [against the Barclay brothers],” his spokesperson said.

“Mark Hollingsworth asked for a £20,000 advance for his book. Paddy agreed and paid him this advance. The book has not been published and Paddy has had no other dealings with Mark Hollingsworth or use for the information he was going to use in his book.

“All these matters are now behind us and subject to a confidential settlement agreement,” she added

Property developer Paddy McKillen’s office  yesterday denied bringing Journalist/spook Mark Hollingsworth, currently embroiled in the Denis O’Brien Red Flag memory stick hoo ha, to Ireland.

Seems legit.

A Bizarre Affair (Tom Lyons, Sunday Business Post)

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From top: Mark Hollingsworth; Denis O’Brien.

You may have read reports this morning about a journalist called Mark Hollingsworth and his efforts last year to interview a number of politicians, political advisers and journalists in Dublin.

It’s been reported that Mr Hollingsworth claimed he was writing an article about Denis O’Brien for The Sunday Times.

Readers may recall how Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy mentioned Mr Hollingsworth in a Dáil speech earlier this week, during a debate about the Cregan investigation into certain transactions involving IBRC – including the sale of Siteserv to Mr O’Brien.

Ms Murphy said:

I have since discovered a whole other world that I did not know existed. A journalist contacted me [in September 2015] on the false premise that he was writing an article and I took him at face value. He made an appointment to come to the Oireachtas for a meeting, but the sole purpose of it was to try to find out the sources of my information.

He is Mr Mark Hollingsworth.

He did not get the sources but it appeared to be more of an inquisition than an interview. That kind of world, which I did not know existed, is there bubbling under the surface. We must be conscious of that.

This morning, Mark Tighe, in The Times Ireland edition, reported:

[Mr Hollingsworth] told interviewees that he was planning to have his article published in The Sunday Times magazine. The newspaper has said that it did not commission him to research or write any such article.

In September last year, after making contact with Karl Brophy, the chief executive of Red Flag, Mr Hollingsworth was provided with access to a file in Red Flag’s online Dropbox account containing dozens of published stories about Mr O’Brien and privately authored documents concerning the billionaire.

The Times has learnt that after obtaining the Red Flag dossier, Mr Hollingsworth gave a copy to a private investigator working for Alaco… There is no suggestion that Alaco was involved in any wrongdoing. Alaco was formed in 2002 and is one of London’s most high-profile corporate investigation companies.

Mr Hollingsworth, who has written several books, is among a number of British journalists who sometimes collaborate with private investigators on stories.

He is understood to maintain that he was not working for Alaco last September but was willing to share his research with the company.

Further to this.

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Letters from British intelligence companies, Alaco, Diligence International and K2 Limited to Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy (above left) and Social Democrats Political Director Anne-Marie McNally (above right)

The Social Democrats have released three letters (above) which Catherine Murphy and Anne Marie McNally were sent by three different British intelligence agencies – on foot of queries from the two women – in November and December 2015.

The party has also released the following statement:

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy has said she and her adviser Anne-Marie McNally both submitted Data Protection requests to a number of British Intelligence Agencies following interactions they had with Mark Hollingsworth in September of last year.

News articles today have identified Mr Hollingsworth as having passed files relating to Denis O’Brien to Alaco Limited, a British Intelligence firm.

Alaco was one of the firms contacted by Catherine Murphy and Anne-Marie Marie McNally but both received letters to say no details were held on file.

One of the agencies contacted, K2 Limited, advised Murphy and McNally that they would pass the enquiry onto the GCHQ and the NSA ‘so they can monitor your electronic and other communication’.

Mr Hollingsworth had presented himself as a journalist writing a feature on Denis O’Brien and Siteserv and had made numerous contacts with Ms McNally throughout August culminating in a meeting with Deputy Murphy and Ms McNally in Leinster House in September.

Both women felt his line of questioning was spurious and ended the interview promptly.

Meanwhile…

Speaking following today’s news reports Catherine Murphy said:

“Upon realising that Mr Hollingsworth’s intentions seemed different to his stated intentions we began to wonder what kind of information he, and whoever had employed him, were keeping on us.

We issued the data protection requests to a small few agencies in London that we had reason to believe might have an interest in details pertaining to Mr O’Brien – Alaco was one.

We had reason to be concerned that information was being compiled on us following the Hollingsworth incident and an unusual encounter Anne-Marie had with a taxi driver in the city during the Siteserv saga.

“I am concerned at today’s reports that Mr Hollingsworth passed a file to Alaco given that they have responded to both myself and Anne-Marie to say they hold nothing on file for either of us. I would like to think that Data Protection Acts give us a level of comfort but if there are loopholes being used I believe that merits attention.”

Journalist passed O’Brien file to London firm (Mark Tighe, The Times Ireland edition)

Previously: [REDACTED]’S 1.25% Interest Rate

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