Patricia Kelly, wife of Console founder Paul Kelly, to seek halting of legal proceedings
Patricia Kelly leaving the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts
May 21 2022 02:30 AM
The wife of Paul Kelly, the disgraced late founder of Console, is seeking to halt civil proceedings being taken against her by the liquidator of the suicide bereavement charity.
Lawyers for Patricia Kelly are expected to argue that the action, in which the liquidator is seeking to recover assets, could prejudice a criminal trial she is due to face next year.
The matter was briefly mentioned in the High Court yesterday, and the application is due to be heard next week.
Ms Kelly’s solicitor Edel Poole told Mr Justice Brian O’Moore her client was seeking a stay on the liquidator’s proceedings pending the outcome of the criminal process.
Earlier this year, liquidator Tom Murray secured a judgment against Paul Kelly’s estate. He also plans to seek a judgment against Patricia Kelly in default of a defence.
The charity founder took his own life in February 2020 amid investigations into allegations of large-scale financial mismanagement and personal use of charity funds.
His wife is facing fraudulent trading and money laundering charges.
She is expected to argue there would be a significant overlap between material at the centre of the civil proceedings and matters expected to feature in her criminal trial, which is scheduled for next January. It is thought she will argue publicity from the civil suit could have a prejudicial effect on the criminal trial.
The district court has previously heard Ms Kelly will be contesting the criminal charges, which were brought following an investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
In a statement of claim, Mr Murray highlighted large levels of spending, much of which he believed to be for personal use.
Among the questionable sums identified by the liquidator are over €218,000 in cash withdrawals, flights costing €51,800, €88,200 spent on hotels, €77,000 spent in restaurants, €41,000 expended on groceries, €30,000 spent on clothes, including designer labels, €2,110 on dental costs for Paul Kelly, and €14,500 on entertainment items.
In a legal filing last year, the liquidator said it was still “unknown” what assets Mr Kelly had at the time of his death.
The Console scandal emerged when details of a draft HSE audit report were broadcast by RTÉ Investigates.
It was alleged State money and donations were used to fund extravagant lifestyles for Mr Kelly and members of his family.
The furore prompted the Government to commence laws giving the Charities Regulator stronger investigative and enforcement powers.