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Denis O'Brien, chairman of Digicel Group Photo by: Reuters

New row breaks out in battle for control of Ireland’s Independent Newspapers group

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Denis O'Brien, chairman of Digicel Group Photo by: Reuters

A new row has broken out between tycoon Denis O’Brien and the O’Reilly family in the battle for control of Ireland’s Independent Newspapers group.

Boardroom representatives from the O’Brien camp have now challenged the settlement package paid to Tony O’Reilly’s son Gavin after he resigned as CEO last week.

Paul Connolly, a non-executive director appointed by majority shareholder O’Brien, wants O’Reilly’s $2million plus severance package declared ‘unlawful’ according to a report in the Irish Times.

Connolly, one of two directors representing O’Brien on the INM board, has asked Dublin’s High Court to intervene in the matter.

The report states that Connolly is arguing that the payment to O’Reilly was made on April 19th with ‘indecent haste’.

He also claims it was unlawful and unjustified given that he presided over ‘a period of destruction’ of the company’s share value.

Connolly has also claimed that because O’Reilly lives in London and did not ordinarily work here, some 70 per cent of his remuneration from INM was paid to a Jersey-registered company.

Connolly and Lucy Gaffney, another O’Brien rep on the INM board, voted against the exit package offered to O’Reilly.

The paper says they did not vote against the appointment of chief operating officer Vincent Crowley as his successor.

Connolly’s legal team will apply on Monday to have the proceedings against INM fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.
 

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