HIGH COURT APPROVES FINAL PAYMENT TO CLIENTS OF W&R MORROGH - The High Court has approved an additional and final payment to the clients of a stockbroking firm which collapsed with losses of some €13 million more than 10 years ago, writes the Irish Times. The receiver of W&R Morrogh will get total fees of some €5.78 million, including legal fees incurred, arising from the 13-year receivership. Cork-based W&R Morrogh, which began operating in the 1880s, ceased trading in April 2001 after it was discovered a junior partner in the firm, Stephen Pearson, had embezzled some €5.5 million of clients funds to play the stockmarket. Pearson, North Esk, Glanmire, Cork, was later jailed for five years after pleading guilty to 31 charges of fraudulently converting clients’ funds, 11 charges of forgery and five counts of obtaining funds under false pretences between November 1995 and April 2001. The collapse resulted in the firm’s closure by the Central Bank and losses of some €13 million to more than 2,500 clients. Yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted a number of orders, including one providing that creditors of the firm will receive a second and final dividend of 13 cent for every euro they lost.
D-DAY FOR VODAFONE SHAREHOLDERS - Post offices around the country experienced long queues yesterday as Vodafone shareholders sent off letters in an attempt to avoid being hit by tax following the company's deal with US telecoms giant Verizon, says the Irish Independent. Any of Vodafone's 380,000 shareholders living in Ireland who have not indicated by today how they want to receive their payout may be hit with tax. The UK mobile company said the Form of Election document, where shareholders state whether they will receive their payment as a capital or income payment, had to have been submitted and received by 1pm this afternoon. Shareholders were not allowed to send the forms by fax or email, so if you have not returned the Form of Election by the deadline, you've missed the boat. For those who missed today's deadline, which has been flagged up since late last year, their payment will be treated as income instead of capital. This means that it will receive income tax treatment. If you chose the capital option, you are likely to have avoided tax.
MASTERCARD, VISA BACK SMARTPHONE PAYMENT - MasterCard and Visa are about to make it easier for consumers to pay for goods with a tap of a smartphone, a payment method frequently promised but rarely delivered, says the Financial Times. The US credit card groups on Wednesday announced separately their support for a type of technology that could resolve longstanding industry disagreements over how to develop mobile wallets that allow users to store their card data on their phones and then pay with near field communications, or NFC, technology. Interest in mobile payments has surged recently, as companies from PayPal to Visa and start-ups like Square try to find ways to get customers using their phones when buying on and offline. Encouraging mobile payments could let retailers collect better data on their customers, or give them new ways to push location-based offers to potential consumers near their stores. Yet mobile wallets have taken off slowly, in part because paying with cash or credit cards is fine for most consumers, and because existing mobile wallet apps are neither widely accepted by retailers nor easy to use. MasterCard and Visa are hoping to spur the industry by using technology known as “host card emulation”, which allows card data to be stored in the cloud rather than on a chip in the phone, says James Anderson, head of emerging payments at MasterCard.
G8 SUMMIT HOTEL WILL BE UNABLE TO PAY UNSECURED CREDITORS €4.25m - The joint administrators of the five-star Lough Erne resort that last year staged the G8 summit believe that unsecured creditors owed £3.5m (€4.25m) from the hotel’s administration will not be paid. KPMG were appointed as administrators by the High Court on foot of an application by Bank of Scotland to Castle Hume Leisure Ltd that ran the resort in May 2011. The bank was owed £26.4m at the time by the company and the hotel remains up for sale, says the Irish Examiner. According to the latest report on the progress of the administration, the administrators state that while they are unable to provide an estimate of the likely proceeds of the sale “we do not anticipate that sufficient monies will be realised to discharge all monies owing to the secured creditor”. The administrators, John Hansen and Stuart Irwin of KPMG, state that they “do not believe that there will be sufficient realisations to facilitate a distribution to unsecured creditors”. World leaders, including US president Barack Obama, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian president Vladimir Putin descended on the Co Fermanagh resort for last June’s summit.