Category: Archive

Tribunal hears tribulations of license losers

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

AT&T was so outraged that it took the unusual step of complaining through the U.S. Embassy, as did Motorola.
The tribunal is seeking to establish whether former Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Michael Lowry interfered with the competition process, amid claims that the winner, Esat Digifone, and other competitors donated money to his Fine Gael party during the process.
The tribunal is also looking at a number of financial transactions involving Lowry and the main force behind the winning Esat license bid, Denis O’Brien.
Shareholders in Esat Digifone made literally billions of euros from the decision.
Competing for the license was an expensive business, and the five consortia that were unsuccessful were not graceful losers.
Now those losers are watching the proceedings with extreme interest. If the tribunal shows that the license award process was contaminated, the Irish government is likely to be sued for hundreds of millions of euros.
The tribunal has been spiced with opposing testimony from Lowry and Sir Tony O’Reilly, owner of the Independent media group.
In papers submitted to the Moriarty Tribunal, Lowry claims that he was summoned to the businessman’s executive box during a race meeting at the Curragh.
In the ensuing conversation, he was told that O’Reilly expected that a consortium involving Independent News and Media would be successful in its application for the state’s second mobile phone license. He was also instructed to close down unlicensed TV deflector systems forthwith.
Lowry also said that O’Reilly “also spoke about recognition of his personal standing as an international business leader.”
O’Reilly vehemently rejected the statements.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese