Irish Examiner on Mick Wallace

FG want Wallace tax inquiry

Thursday, June 07, 2012 – 05:57 PM

Calls have been made for a formal investigation into tax-dodging TD
Mick Wallace.

Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan said there should be consequences for the
Independent deputy, who has been landed with a €2.1m settlement after
making false tax declarations to Revenue.

Mr Flanagan said the Standards in Public Office Commission should
probe the Wexford TD’s tax dealings.

The Oireachtas watchdog can recommend a motion of censure which could
see Mr Wallace forced to resign from the Dáil.

“The appropriate body should interview the deputy, there should be a
short investigation and we turn over the facts, and at the end of the
day that body should decide on enforcement consequences,” said Mr
Flanagan.

The Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman said it was unacceptable
for any citizen, let alone a member of the Dáil, “to play ducks and
drakes” with the Revenue Commission.

“I believe unless this matter is pursued, we are setting a very bad
example and, in fact, we are turning a blind eye to what may be an
illegality,” he added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would not comment on an individual case,
adding: “I understand that a settlement has been arrived at here and
it’s up to the statutory authorities to follow that through.”

Meanwhile most of the Independent TDs who make up the Technical Group
– of which Mr Wallace is a member – have been uncharacteristically
quiet in the wake of the revelations.

Earlier, Mr Wallace insisted he is fit to serve in the Dail despite
admitting he knowingly under-declared VAT returns to tax chiefs in a
bid to save his failing construction firm MJ Wallace Ltd.

“I acknowledge what I did was wrong but I did it in good faith,” said
Mr Wallace. “I really did believe that I would be able to pay the VAT
at a later stage.”

The Independent TD attributed his company’s problems to the economic
crisis, which had become too much for his business in 2008 and 2009.

Mr Wallace said he was trying to save his apartment sales company and
the jobs of the 60 people working for him.

In an agreement with Revenue, the company was found to have
under-declared around €1.4m in VAT. But with interest and penalties
piled on, it now owes some €2.1m.

Mr Wallace is not personally liable to make the payment. He said it is
the company’s debt and as it is now insolvent, the bill may never be
settled.

When asked if he believes he is still fit to serve in the Dáil, the TD
told RTÉ: “I believe I am.”

The €2.1m settlement will be published on the Revenue’s quarterly list
of tax defaulters next week.

ACC Bank secured a €19.4m judgment against MJ Wallace Ltd last
November and a receiver was appointed over the company’s assets.

Mr Wallace said he has been threatened with bankruptcy a number of
times over the last year but insisted he will fight any such moves.

A TD who is declared bankrupt is required by law to resign from the Dáil