South Armagh business linked to fuel smuggling tops Revenue defaulters list

Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE former owner of a petrol station company in south Armagh is among a number of directors named by the tax authorities in the Republic for non declaration of excise duty and under-payment of VAT.

DMG Energy, whose directors include Armagh man Damien McGleenan, is said to owe the State more than €9.1 million (£8.2m), made up of €3.4m in unpaid tax, along with €2.6m in interest and €3.2m in penalties.

Although now based in the Ranelagh area of Dublin, DMG once had its headquarters in Dundalk and was run by Keady brothers Damien and Francis McGleenan.

The company, which has been in liquidation since 2013, has been under investigation for more than a decade by the authorities in Northern Ireland in relation to tax evasion linked with fuel laundering and cross-border smuggling.

As far back as 2007, police on both sides of the border froze assets worth more than €12 million (£10.2m) which belonged to Mr McGleenan and his family.

Two years later, following a lengthy High Court battle, he was forced to hand over several houses and other assets worth around £6 million to the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency in what was described by the authorities as being “amassed through years of fuel smuggling and excise fraud”.

DMG's liability was by far the largest of the 17 defaulters named on latest Revenue list covering the third quarter of the year and totalling just shy of €20m (£18m).

Eight of the cases were for amounts in excess of €100,000, with five above €500,000 and four higher than €1m.

One of the larger settlements was against Danny Fitzpatrick, a company director from Ashton Heights in Newry, who was found to have under-declared income tax and owed the Revenue €1.932m (£1.74m) in unpaid tax, interest and penalties.

He previously owned Fitzpatrick's pub and restaurant at Rockmarshall, near Dundalk, which in 2018 was sold by bank receivers but now operates under new ownership and management (though with the same name above the door).

Sherwood Investments, the company through which Mr Fitzpatrick owned the pub and restaurant, had been named earlier this year in a separate Revenue tax defaulters list for owing €10.9 million (£9.8m).

According to the Revenue, between July and September it settled 212 audits and investigations, as well as 10,914 risk management investigations, which collectively yielded €88.3m in tax, interest and penalties.

A further 80 cases involving a court imposed fine, imprisonment or other penalty were also published, totalling €183,098 in fines.

Some 32 related to failing to lodge a tax return, with 24 connected to misuse of marked oil and 24 were for excise offences.

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