MORE THAN 700 charitable organisations have been contacted as part an investigation into a Dublin-based online donation platform, the High Court has heard.
The court also heard that Peter Conlon, the managing director of Pembroke Dynamic, has been detained by prosecutors in Zurich Switzerland since before Christmas following a complaint from the Red Cross about not getting monies donated via a platform managed by the businessman.
Barrister Rossa Fanning told the court that charities were contacted by his client, liquidator Myles Kirby, as part of his attempts to locate an estimated €3.8 million which was donated to but never received by various charities.
Those funds had been contributed via a service provided by Pembroke Dynamic. Kirby has secured freezing orders against Conlon from the High Court.
Fanning said that since the matter was last before the court there was “no good news” arising out of Kirby’s further investigations of Pembroke Dynamic’s affairs.
Kirby had contacted some 700 charities that had dealt with Pembroke Dynamic and had received numerous phones calls on behalf of charities in respect of missing donations.
Counsel said Kirby has also spoken to the Office Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Charities Regulator about his investigation.
Attempts were also made to notify Conlon of the proceedings via text message, email and personally at his given home address at Ballsbridge in south Dublin.
No response have been received to the messages sent electronically and service was not accepted at the Dublin address, counsel said. However he believes Conlon is aware of the action before the Irish Court.
Fanning said that Kirby has been in contact with a prosecutor in Switzerland who confirmed that Conlon was detained at Zurich Airport shortly before Christmas.
His arrest following a criminal investigation into claims by the Red Cross it had not received millions that had been donated through the Ammado platform, which is linked to Conlon.
The Irish businessman remains in custody in Zurich and the presumption of innocence applies, counsel said.
Pembroke Dynamic was wound up last month arising out of its failure to satisfy a debt owed to Revenue of approximately €400,000.
Shortly afterwards, Kirby secured freezing orders against Conlon after the liquidator discovered various charities have not received some €3.8 million donated to them via the platform.
Conlon’s company was contracted to collect the donations and pass them on to the charities minus a 5% commission.
The charities affected include UN refugee agency UNHCR, the Red Cross, and Save the Children UK.
In a sworn statement seeking the freezing, the liquidator said it appeared Conlon, who is a shareholder in various corporate vehicles that own Pembroke Dynamic, was “guilty of very serious misconduct”.
Kirby sought the orders over his “very serious concerns” following his investigations into the company’s affairs and fears Conlon may attempt to dissipate and move assets beyond the reach of creditors.
Kirby believes the missing funds were used to run the company and by Conlon for personal expenditure.