Independent TD Michael Lowry and his refrigeration company have been fined a total of €25,000 having been convicted earlier today of two charges each of delivering an incorrect corporation tax return and failing to keep a proper set of accounts.
Judge Martin Nolan made his ruling following a sentence hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after a verdict was delivered by the jury on day 12 of the trial just before lunchtime today.
The judge referred to Lowry as a “conscientious taxpayer” having accepted evidence that he previously “put his hand in his pocket” to settle a separate €1.4m tax bill dating back to 1997.
Judge Nolan accepted that the politician had no previous convictions, was a good employer and a very good public representative.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. He has been re-elected,” the judge said.
He noted that the maximum sentence available to the court was a five-year term, but said he didn’t think a custodial sentence was appropriate in the case.
He fined Mr Lowry €15,000 personally and Garuda €10,000. He also disqualified Lowry as acting as a director of the company for three years.
“He seems to have rescued his company. If he had not put in a substantial cash infusion into the company it would not be operating at present,” Judge Nolan said. He was referring to evidence that Lowry re-mortgaged his home to pay the €1.4 million tax bill.
Finally, Judge Nolan remarked: “This is to Mr Lowry’s credit. I would not like to fall on the wrong side of Mr Oliver”.
Henry Oliver is the tax inspector who was responsible for bringing the case forward for criminal investigation.