Ireland: Hospice drops fraud lawsuit against ex-finance head after recouping more than €200,000 cash - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland Hospice drops fraud lawsuit against ex-finance head after recouping more than €200,000 cash

09:20  20 november  2019
09:20  20 november  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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a house in the middle of the street: The gated Aloha Lake Village in Marbella © SOLARPIX.COM The gated Aloha Lake Village in Marbella

A legal action in which the country's largest hospice accused its former head of finance of fraud has been settled, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The High Court case has been withdrawn after Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services recouped more than €200,000 it lost out on following the sale of a Spanish property in controversial circumstances.

The lawsuit revolved around the sale of a Marbella townhouse left in a bequest to the hospice in late 2008.

It is understood the property was sold five-and-a-half years later for just €37,500, even though it was worth around €240,000 at the time.

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The organisation's then head of finance, Denis Maguire, was dismissed in 2016 over his role in the sale after the discrepancy came to light in an audit.

The matter was also reported to An Garda Síochána.

A HSE audit and a review by independent counsel concluded there was negligence in relation to the sale.

Earlier this year, the hospice sued Mr Maguire and a man whose company it alleged bought the property, located in the gated Aloha Lake Village.

But the case was withdrawn yesterday after the hospice recouped the full value of the property and its legal costs.

The Irish Independent understands the settlement was between the hospice and Mr Maguire only.

It was reached without any admission of liability by him.

As head of finance, Mr Maguire was given authority to manage the property. He has previously stated in legal correspondence that while mistakes were made, there was no suggestion he had acted dishonestly or fraudulently.

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a castle on top of a building: Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross

A Garda investigation into the affair is continuing.

In proceedings initiated last January, the hospice had sought declarations the alleged actions of Mr Maguire and the other man were unlawful and amounted to fraud, deceit, breach of contract, breach of duty, negligence and misrepresentation.

But the case was only ever briefly before the court.

Last July, a judge ordered that Mr Maguire could be served with a summons by prepaid post after a legal intern from solicitors firm Beauchamps was refused access by another person to his home at Moylurg, Glencullen, Kilternan, Co Dublin.

In a statement, the hospice confirmed the matter had been settled.

"In 2016, it was found that a legacy gift donated to Our Lady's Hospice and Care Service (OLH&CS) did not produce the expected benefit," the statement said.

"This matter was the subject of a HSE audit and an independent external investigation at OLH&CS, and is currently under investigation by the gardaí. OLH&CS's board of directors also reported its concerns to all the relevant authorities at the time - the gardaí, the Charities Regulator and the HSE, and co-operated fully with all their requirements.

"After the independent external investigation, OLH&CS proactively sought to recoup the value of the gift and ultimately initiated High Court proceedings, which resulted in them being successful in their aim. The loss has now been recovered, and for that reason, the High Court proceedings have concluded.

"However, it should be noted the settlement was made without any admission of liability."

The hospice, which is located at Harold's Cross and Blackrock in Dublin, cared for more than 4,200 patients last year.

It also delivered more than 11,800 specialist palliative care visits in 2018.

Founded in 1879 by the Sisters of Charity, the hospice currently has around 600 medical and general staff and 330 volunteers.

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