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charity probe Ex-Bothar CEO has made 'significant admissions' as sum misappropriated rises to €770k, court hears

The sum said to have been misappropriated by David Moloney from the charity, previously thought to be at least €465,000, has now risen to close to €770,000.

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David Moloney. Photo: Sean Curtin

David Moloney. Photo: Sean Curtin

David Moloney. Photo: Sean Curtin

A former chief executive of Bóthar has made “significant admissions” about the misappropriation of funds from the international aid charity, the High Court has heard.

The sum said to have been misappropriated by David Moloney from the charity, previously thought to be at least €465,000, has now risen to close to €770,000.

The court heard Mr Moloney has also admitted that he and one of the charity’s founders, the late Peter Ireton, took monies which were supposed to have gone to a congregation of nuns in Tanzania.

Mr Ireton was found dead at his home in Limerick last week in what is being treated by gardaí as a personal tragedy.

The court also heard Mr Moloney admitted concocting a scheme with former Bóthar board member Billy Kelly involving supposed payments to a consultancy company in the UK known as Agricultural Innovation Consultants Ltd and took €127,000 from this.

Mr Moloney had, through his legal team, previously denied any wrongdoing.

The revelations came when an action by the charity against Mr Moloney, in which it has secured an order freezing his assets, was mentioned in the High Court on Tuesday.

“Since April 12 Mr Moloney has made significant admissions,” Bothár counsel Frank Beatty said.

“It would appear from those that the misappropriation has increased from what was €465,000 to what is now assessed to be €769,168.”

Mr Beatty said investigations were ongoing.

Mr Moloney, of Clino, Newport, Co Tipperary, has agreed to the orders continuing the freezing injunction and requiring him to disclose financial information and what he did with the money by May 4.

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Mr Beatty told Mr Justice Senan Allen that after a previous hearing on April 12, the parties had considered whether they could enter some sort of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, but this was no longer being pursued.

He said Mr Moloney had previously denied any wrongdoing, but this didn’t reflect the true position.

The alleged misappropriation of €465,000 was outlined in an affidavit filed by Bóthar chairman Harry Lawlor earlier this month.

The court heard that a subsequent letter from Mr Moloney’s solicitors to solicitors for the charity said: “We are instructed our client confirms responsibility for all payments disclosed in the affidavit of Harry Lawlor and will make further fulsome disclosures as soon as possible.”

Mr Beatty said this admission was followed by a further letter on April 20, in which Mr Moloney admitted he and the late Mr Ireton took monies that were destined for the congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate Sisters in Tanzania.

The court had previous heard the sums involved amounted to €226,000.

But Mr Beatty said two further payments had since emerged. One for €29,500 in 2011 and one for €32,350 in 2013.

“In relation to the payments concerning Agricultural Innovation Consultants Ltd. He accepts he did concoct with Mr Billy Kelly and that he took €127,000 in relation to that,” added Mr Beatty.

The barrister said Mr Moloney had also admitted taking 13 rather than 12 salary payments a year. Bóthar has assessed he received €44,084 from doing this.

Mr Beatty also informed the court that Mr Moloney had admitted a 2016 pension from Bóthar “is false and needs to be repaid”. The sum involved is €100,000.

However, the court heard Mr Moloney asserted two other pensions he has from the charity, both from 2006, were genuine.

“That remains an issue between the parties,” said Mr Beatty.

The overall value of the three pensions is more than €600,000.

The court heard Mr Moloney expressed a wish to repay the misappropriated funds and make reparations.

However, Mr Beatty said it was still not clear what he had done with the money taken.

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