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Chief suspect in alleged €2.5m Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium fraud is dead

This means the matter is not currently under garda investigation

Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium on Dublin’s O’Connell Street

Ali Bracken

The chief suspect in an alleged fraud of more than €2.5m from the company that runs the Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium amusement arcade on Dublin’s O’Connell Street has passed away in tragic circumstances, meaning the matter is not currently under garda investigation.

After carrying out preliminary inquiries, An Garda Síochána established that the chief suspect in the fraud — who held a senior position within the company — died in 2020.

It is understood he may have been under financial pressures at the time of his death.

“It seems this man feared he was going to be exposed, and unfortunately mounting pressure over this appears to have led to his death, in the most tragic of circumstances,” a security source explained.

The man’s death occurred in the vicinity of Dr Quirkey’s in O’Connell Street around two years ago.

The alleged fraud at the company that operates the arcade and casino business emerged a fortnight ago. It cost the group a reported €543,758 in 2020; €1,017,000 in 2019; and €1,009,000 in 2018.

The alleged fraud was uncovered in December 2020 by Mr Quirke and another director.

In response, the business said it implemented an programme of governance and operational improvements at all levels within the organisation.

The disclosure was contained in new accounts for Dublin Pool and Juke Box Ltd, the business owned by Richard Quirke.

Richard Quirke and his son Wesley Quirke, who is married to Rosanna Davison. Picture by Brian McEvoy

Mr Quirke is Rosanna Davison’s father-in-law, and has been long associated with €480m plans for a major development including a casino at Two-Mile Borris, Co Tipperary.

The 75-year-old former garda has built up a fortune from his Dublin-based casino business, with shareholder funds totalling €33.6m. Most of the firm’s wealth is concentrated in property, with a book value of €34.3m at the end of June 2019.

However in the newly filed 2019 accounts, the directors in their report reveal how “in December 2020, the company discovered that it was the subject of a fraud in the business”.

The breakdown of the alleged €1,017,000 fraud in 2019 shows that it was made up of €887,000 in alleged “misappropriation of cash” and alleged “misappropriated bank payments” of €130,190.

Under the heading of “exceptional items”, the breakdown of the cost of the alleged €1,009,000 fraud in 2018 is made up of €912,000 in alleged “misappropriation of cash”, and €97,203 in alleged “misappropriated bank payments”.

A note states: “In December 2020, the directors uncovered a financial fraud perpetrated on the company by fraudulent bank payments. The payments have been written off in the financial statements as an exceptional item.”

Accounts for the group that operates the Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium also show pandemic closures contributed to pre-tax losses rising from €1.6m in 2020 to €14m in the 12 months to June 2021.

The €14m loss takes account of a €8.4m property write-down.

In the third set of Dublin Pool and Juke Box Company Ltd annual accounts lodged with the Companies Office in recent weeks, figures show that the firm recorded the losses as their revenues collapsed from €9.58m to €1.5m. The loss resulted in shareholder funds reducing from €31.93m to €17.85m.

However, the firm’s interest bill on overdue tax continued to mount in 2021 and is now €1.59m across four years.

As a result of the alleged fraud, a forensic examination by external financial consultants led to the identification of unpaid taxation and interest liabilities.

The new accounts show the interest bill on overdue tax last year was €645,415, following €946,952 under the same heading over the previous three years.

A note attached to the accounts states the company “is currently the subject of a Revenue investigation”.

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