Tag Archives: ODCE

Former CEO of FAI John Delaney (second from right) on his way to an Oireachtas committee hearing last month

More as they get it.

Rollingnews

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: Former Anglo Irish Bank boss Seán FitzPatrick and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphries

No.

And don’t call her Shirley.

In May of last year, the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) would provide a full report into the collapse of the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief Seán FitzPatrick.

Mr FitzPatrick was acquitted of furnishing false information to Anglo’s auditors last year.

It followed solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) Kevin O’Connell admitting that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Mr FitzPatrick, among other matters.

On Sunday, Stephen O’Brien, in The Sunday Times, reported that the ODCE’s 235-page report on the failed trial, replete with 3,000 pages of appendices, will not be published.

[It was delivered to the then Minister for Enterprise Frances Fitzgerald in June 2017]

Mr O’Brien reported:

The ODCE report includes correspondence with third parties, internal emails, and draft witness statements.

A source familiar with the document said: “It provides a detailed and fact-based narrative of the various factors that contributed to the trial judge directing the jury to acquit the accused. Under no circumstances could it be considered a whitewash.”

Further to this…

The Business and Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys was interviewed by Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s News at One this afternoon about the refusal to publish the full report and the decision to, instead, publish a 30-page summary-like document about the shortcomings.

The following exchange came after Ms Humphreys – who said she intends to turn the ODCE into an independent statutory agency and said the ODCE has since received more money and staff – insisted the ODCE is doing a “lot of good work”.

Áine Lawlor: “We have heard all these promises about transparency and accountability and resources and all the rest before. The track record, as you’ve referred to yourself, is patchy to say the least.

“Now, the Cabinet, the Government has, according to media reports, a 235-page report from the ODCE, with 3,000 pages of appendices, going through all the previous failings. Now given that Anglo Irish and IBRC, between them cost the Irish State and taxpayer nearly €35billion and that debt is still there in the national debt – why should the public not have the fullest account?

“Why are we only getting this 30 pages that you’ve published today?”

Surely we deserve full transparency here?”

Heather Humphreys: “Yeah, well I just want to say that I’d like to be able to publish this report but I can’t. Because of legal advice, I would be contravening the Companies Act, if I did so – that’s why I have, today, published an account of the shortcomings identified by Judge Aylmer…I just want to make sure that what happened in the past, and it is historic now, will not happen again.”

Lawlor: “Well, saying it’s historic is all, the point about all of these things is whether we’re learning from the historic mistakes or whether we’re doomed to repeat them. How do we know that you are actually, minister, in the measures you’re taking, doing what’s needed – when we don’t have the fullest view of what went wrong in the past?”

Humphreys: “Well, what I’m saying is, is that, you know, it’s not legally possible for the minister to publish the report under Section 955 of the Companies Act and that’s why I’m publishing an account of the shortcomings…”

Listen back in full here

Related: ODCE report on Sean FitzPatrick trial collapse to stay confidential (Stephen O’Brien, The Sunday Times)

Cabinet approves proposed changes to ODCE (RTÉ)

Previously: ‘The Minister Has Asked The ODCE For A Full Report’

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

From top: Conor O Mahony of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE): INM CEO Michael Doorly (left) leaving the High Court this afternoon

The High Court has granted the appointment of inspectors from The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to Independent News and Media

They may be some time.

This afternoon.

The High Court, Dublin

In a 76-page judgement, President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly has approved the application by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement [ODCE] to appoint inspectors to Independent News and Media [INM], publishers of the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and Evening Herald.

In its application, the ODCE alleged there was a culture of deference towards INM’s major shareholder, Denis O’Brien, and it had a suspicion the affairs of the company were interfered with for his benefit.

More as they get it.

High Court Appoints Inspectors To INM (RTÉ)

Earlier: Inmcoming

Rollingnews

Update:

To the shredders!

Independent News and Media CEO Michael Doorly

President of the [High] Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly will give his decision [today] on the application by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement [to appoint inspectors to the company] which was strongly opposed by INM.

The ODCE described its application to have inspectors appointed to INM as unusually strong.

It said it was concerned INM’s affairs had been conducted in an unlawful manner for an unlawful purpose.

It alleged there was a culture of deference towards INM’s major shareholder, Denis O’Brien, and it had a suspicion the affairs of the company were interfered with for his benefit….

More as we get it.

ODCE application to have inspectors appointed to INM (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

The reception of Independent News and Media offices on Talbot Street, Dublin 1

Mark Paul, in The Irish Times, reports:

“Independent News and Media (INM) has recruited Deloitte for yet another investigation into an alleged major data breach at the newspaper publisher.

“It has also threatened outside IT experts, recruited under the supervision of former chairman Leslie Buckley, that it will sue them unless they co-operate, according to court papers.

“…Mr Buckley is refusing to meet the Deloitte investigators. In letters to INM’s legal advisers McCann Fitzgerald, Mr Buckley’s lawyers cite his anger at a letter sent by INM to the so-called INM 19, who were among those whose data was searched.

“That letter, his lawyers say, appears to blame Mr Buckley for “unauthorised” access to INM’s data.”

INM threatens to sue experts who ran data ‘interrogation’ (Mark Paul, The Irish Times)

Yesterday: There Were Discussions With Dee Forbes About ‘Getting Stephen A Job At RTE’

Previously: Why Did You Pay To Have These People Hacked?

INM The Thick Of It

Denis O’Brien (right) with former INM chairman Leslie Buckley

Today.

The legal team for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement began making it’s application to the High Court for inspectors to be appointed to Independent News and Media.

It’s understood Brian Murray SC, for the ODCE, will continue making his submission tomorrow morning.

It follows claims in April that computer specialists which monitored the networks of INM, without the knowledge of the company’s board, were paid by a Denis O’Brien-owned company, according to claims in an affidavit filed in the High Court by the ODCE.

The ODCE said it uncovered emails containing a list of names which were to be searched for in the ‘data interrogation’.

Approximately €60,000 was paid by Blaydon Limited, an Isle of Man company owned by Mr O’Brien, to Trusted Data Solutions (TDS), an American company based in Wales, according to Ian Drennan, of the ODCE.

Former INM chairman and O’Brien associate Leslie Buckley told the ODCE that he gave TDS access to the INM networks as part of a “cost-reduction exercise” so he could “find out more detail about the awarding by INM of a professional services contract”.

Further to this…

Orla O’Donnell, of RTE, reports:

“Mr Murray [Brian Murray SC, for the ODCE] told High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly that the board of INM had believed Mr Buckley’s explanation that the data interrogation related to a “cost reduction exercise” concerning a contract with INM’s then solicitors.

“But he said the board was now saying that if what the Director of Corporate Enforcement is alleging is true, then the board was misled by Mr Buckley about the circumstances and purpose of the interrogation.

“Mr Murray said the board of a public company was now declaring that it was “hoodwinked” or lied to by its chairman in relation to matters of critical importance to its business.

“He asked how that could stand without some form of investigation. And if the board had been hoodwinked about this issue, the question of what else it had been hoodwinked about, became critical.

“Mr Murray said it was concerning that INM was claiming the issues were a small number of historic events which were individual and isolated.

“He said they were bound together by common features – Mr Buckley, Mr O’Brien and an actual or proposed act intended to confer an advantage on Mr O’Brien at the expense of the company as a whole.”

ODCE application to have inspectors appointed to INM (RTE)

Previously: Life’s A Breach

‘I Heard Nothing Whatsoever From INM’

Rollingnews

From top: Ian Drennan, Director of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE); Chief Executive Michael Doorly and Chairman Murdoch Mac Lennan at the Annual General Meeting of Independent News and Media (INM) last month

Independent News and Media has lost its challenge to a decision by the State’s corporate watchdog to apply to have inspectors appointed to the company.

INM had argued that it should have been given an opportunity to respond to the Director of Corporate Enforcement’s concerns before he made the decision.

This morning Mr Justice Seamus Noonan dismissed the judicial review.

He said the argument that INM should have to be consulted first is “novel and without precedent“.

INM loses High Court challenge to ODCE decision (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

From top: Former Sunday Independent journalist Sam Smyth (right), one of those mentioned as having his data breached while working for the INM Group; Head of News INM, Jane Last outside the High Court this afternoon

This afternoon.

The High Court.

Further to an adjournment, the copurt will hear INM’s challenge to the decision of the ODCE to apply to have inspectors appointed to the company on May 9.

The court heard Mr O’Brien has written to the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Ian Drennan, telling him he intended to hold him “fully and personally responsible” for what he alleged were “breaches of duty”.

In the letter sent on 6 April, Mr O’Brien said he had been subjected to extraordinary and intensifying media coverage suggesting he had been involved in wrongdoing.

He suggested that the Director had facilitated media access to the extensive document prepared by the ODCE in support of its application or had failed to take steps to restrict access to it.

Mr O’Brien said this was causing damage to him and to his reputation.

 

O’Brien accuses ODCE of leaking details of INM application (RTÉ)

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