Willie Holt (Burnley) Ltd.

Recipe for a Criminal Fraud


  • One Member of the Irish Diaspora with a Factory.
  • One Empty IDA Factory
  • One Irish Ambassador
  • One badly administered EU Fund
  • A complete lack of ethical standards


In preparing this dish timing is of the utmost importance. First you invite the Member of the Irish Diaspora to dinner at their local Irish Ambassador’s residence and encourage him/her to “do the right thing” and move their factory to Ireland. Toss in lots of green flag and so on. You offer him/her one of your many empty factories “rent free” for say 4 years followed by an option to purchase. You can also toss in a few handfuls of EU funds in the form of training grants and such like just to spice it up a bit. It is now very important to wait until the factory is in Ireland before anything is signed. This will involve seasoning in the form of charm, a little guile and plenty of reassurance. When the factory is relocated you then tell them that “rent free” is not in fact rent free and that you will charge rent but that the rent will be grant aided. You should set the rent as high as possible. The member of the Irish Diaspora will not complain too much as they will not have to pay it and they have already moved and so are not in a position to argue. You can then start invoicing rent and issuing grants for the rent each month. The nice thing about this dish is that you can now tell the EU that the factory is an Irish indigenous start up and recoup most of the grant from EU funds and as the rest of the grant is from you to you there is no problem there. Obviously the higher the rent the better. Presto your empty factory has now become a “nice little earner.”

But it does not end there, this is a very versatile dish. After the “rent free” period you can refuse to sell the building to the business for some reason or other and if they then want to leave Ireland you can say that they have to repay the rent to you. In this way you can be paid twice!

The versatility does not end there. The member of the Diaspora may now be trapped so you can perhaps pressure them to allow some of your friends to invest in the business. You can set this up as a BES tax scam so your friends can also use their investment to avoid paying their taxes. This is another example of how this versatile and easily prepared dish can be served over and over.
If at some point the member of the Irish Diaspora cottons on to how the dish was structured you simply continue to insist that it was an Irish indigenous project and you did nothing wrong. It is absolutely vital to stick to this story, come what may, because otherwise you may be charged with a criminal fraud and end up in prison.
Don’t worry about them running and complaining to a Government Minister sure the Minister will back your cover-up all the way. Aren’t we are a great little country.


Here is one they prepared earlier - The Willie Holt (Burnley) Ltd Story

Note: It is illegal to use EU funds as an incentive to move a company from one EU country to another and to conspire to do so constitutes a criminal fraud. One way to cover up such a fraud would be to pretend that the project is indigenous and give it to the agency responsible for indigenous industries (Forbairt/Enterprise Ireland) ignoring the job losses in the other EU country. Would IDA use a member of the Irish Diaspora to do such a thing and if they did would they be so unscrupulous as to try to steal the money for a second time from them?

The Letter of Offer 1 The Letter of Offer 2

The Incentive Package that brought the company from England to Ireland



We are Irish "All Along"


Was the Incentive Package Illegally Financed?

What they said the company owed


Mr Tannem from IDA
explains the trap

IDA have nothing
to do with IDA!
IDA ethics in a nutshell!

Minister Batt O'Keefe
Minister Batt O'Keefe's
No mention of England??


These sample documents and the tape recording can be studied in context in the Willie Holt (Ireland) Ltd story below. If you are a member of the Irish Diaspora and you are considering moving your business to Ireland and your business is an SME it is absolutely vital that you study the Willie Holt (Ireland) Ltd story and listen to the tape recordings included in this story to get a feel for what it is like should you get involved with these organisations.

IDA Ethics

2010-11-16-ida-mkilleen1 2010-11-16-ida-mkilleen2 IDA Ethics

So is Mr Barry O'Leary the CEO of IDA Ireland covering up the IDA role in a criminal fraud? - Read on...

Willie Holt (Burnley) Ltd.

This is a story of a small overseas Irish/Belgian family business and its experiences of dealing with the Irish State agencies responsible for bringing businesses to Ireland and for assisting businesses already in Ireland.

This page constitutes an overview of our story. Should you require details on any part of the story you can click on the “more” link at the end of each section. This will give you access to further details on that section and allow you to view the relevant documents and listen to the relevant tape recordings of our conversations with these people.

Our story demonstrates the way in which these agencies operate and charts the company’s long history prior to coming to Ireland, the relocation to Ireland and the subsequent destruction of the business.

It will allow the reader to assess whether or not these agencies have become hopelessly corrupted by tax avoidance scams, property speculation, European funds and political interference. The story will also allow you to assess the ethical standards to which these agencies operate and the calibre of their personnel and whether or not you should become involved with them.

A Century of British Manufacturing Tradition

Our company had a long history starting in 1898 when Willie Holt, a well known professional billiard player, philosopher and inventor set up in Burnley in Lancashire manufacturing billiard tables. In 1902 he registered a limited company, Willie Holt (Burnley) Ltd. More

EuroMart Belgium and The Gauselmann Group Germany

In 1988 we became involved with Willie Holt (Burnley) Ltd. We have had a billiards business in Belgium since 1986 and we became European agents for Willie Holt, marketing, installing and servicing their tables throughout North Western Europe both directly and using sub-agents in some countries. I became a director of Willie Holts in 1989 More

Were IDA Ireland the Architects of a Criminal Fraud?

In 1991 our fellow directors voted to put a members liquidation to the shareholders and the shareholders agreed to liquidate Willie Holt. This left our Belgian company and its agents in a difficult situation so we decided to take over the business. We looked at several relocation options in Burnley, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and as an Irish emigrant I thought of Ireland. I contacted the Irish embassy in Brussels to inquire about the option of a relocation to Ireland.  

IDA put an “incentive package” together. They offered us a factory rent free for 4 years with an option to purchase at the end of the rent free period at a special price. We are encouraged to “Do the right thing.”The Irish Ambassador assures us that “you are in good hands.” 

Did IDA then engage in a criminal conspiracy to finance the “incentive package” by misrepresenting our company as an indigenous start-up and thus get the EU to finance the relocation and rent from EU funds?  More

Relocating the Factory to Ireland – Have IDA Deliberately Set a Trap?

So in 1992 we decide to relocate the factory to Ireland. We entered into the project with a good deal of enthusiasm. We purchased the manufacturing business and all the second hand tables from the Willie Holt clubs. We arrive in Ireland with the factory on a fleet of trucks and IDA were there with some very bad news; For the first time we were informed that we could never buy the factory freehold but only on a restrictive leasehold. 

They also informed us for the first time that we would have a contingent liability to IDA for the rent and other assistance and that should we later wish to leave Ireland we would have to repay it all. More

Manufacturing in Ireland. Reinventing a Company

The first 18 months are profitable. Then the market for the snooker tables on the continent contracts. We must rapidly develop new products. At the end of this transition a Forbairt Technology concluded that the company “has taken a traditional company and without sacrificing that tradition, moved it towards the 21st century” and that “the company is to be congratulated on its performance. ” More

Forbairt’s “Mentor” an “Experienced and Trusted Advisor”

In January 1996 After 3 and a half years of very hard work we were out of the woods and wanted to purchase the factory building and relocate our family to Ireland. We were not happy with our company structure and needed advice. We needed to change the structure before we purchased the factory building. So in January 1996 I contacted IDA and asked if a Financial Mentor could be appointed to advise us under the “Mentor” system we had received information on. For the first time we are informed that we have been classified as "an indigenous company all along.” The Irish State agencies then appoint a Mentor outside of normal procedures and then agree to sell our factory to this “Mentor’s” company which was located in a solicitors office in the Dublin suburb of Ballyfermot. We went to our local TD and succeed in stopping the sale. The next day Forbairt informs us that “going to a senior politician behind my back was a big mistake now Paul and that factory will be sold to nobody. ” More

The punishment: We may not buy the factory, we have a huge bill if we want to take our business home and we must now pay a yearly rent that is 30% of the sale price agreed prior to coming to Ireland!.

We are now persona non grata. We cannot now move the kids to Ireland and they tell us that if we want to move the business home to Belgium we have to “repay” IRP 121,758 to IDA Ireland. From now on making and exporting products is not a problem, IDA and Forbairt are our problem. They demonstrate an extraordinary level of ruthlessness as they embark on what was to be 20 months of abuse. More

They choose not to believe our accountant and use a fake FAS course to pay for one of their own.

In at the end of July 1996 after 3 months of hell on earth Forbairt decide to have a consultant check our accounts as they did not believe our accountant. They set up a fake FAS course to pay him! Then undervalue the company and falsely claim that the company is insolvent. In any case the responsible executive fails to read the resulting report.  

What was the true situation? This is a company with a track record of successful innovation as recognized by its recent German industrial design award and its state of the art ecommerce scripts. It had a good relationship with its Bankers and an adequate overdraft facility covered by personal guarantee. It had a 10% profitability on turnover. It had 18 months of orders in hand. Moreover it had the extraordinary circumstance of having customers who paid for full 40 ft containers of goods prior to their manufacture. I believe most manufactures would regard this as a exceptionally good situation! Forbairt choose to misrepresent this situation as a very bad situation! Why?  More

Empowered by the Orderbook we sought a way out of the trap

While we now had an order book worth 3 million DM in hand which was sufficient to maintain profitability at 10% of turnover for the 18 months through to the end of 1997 our overriding concern now was to be reunited as a family in one country as soon as possible. We had endured four years of living in two countries with 4 children in school in Belgium in the mistaken belief that IDA would honour its undertakings. Enough was enough.

IDA turn the screws and officially withdraw the original option to purchase the factory. Then these agencies propose giving us EU funds as a grant for a “feasibility study” and then taking the funds back in the form of a price rise on the factory. Was this another criminal fraud?  More

Back to IDA Ireland Again

In June 1997 after wasting our time talking to Forbairt for 18 months they inform us that we should be talking to IDA! So why were we talking to Forbairt in the first place? Well Forbairt were made responsible for Irish indigenous companies 18 months earlier and we had been informed at that time that we had been classified as “Irish” since we relocated from the UK. This was why we were transferred to Forbairt. Why was a 90 year old British company classified as Irish? What was the motivation for this obvious deception?  

If you accept "the Criminal Fraud Theory" then they had represented us as an indigenous Irish company so we could be used to embezzle EU funds and as we were not an Irish company those responsible could be charged with a criminal offence. So why did IDA, who were the landlord and the organisation receiving any EU funds decide to retake control of the negotiations with our company at this point? Was it dragging on to long? Were they getting nervous?  More


Then in October 1997 Mr. Frank Mulcahy of ISME, one of the many people we discussed our plight with, came to the rescue. I got an invitation to speak at the ISME conference in Killarney. After 20 months of hell IDA then back down and put most of the 1992 offer that had brought us to Ireland back on the table. We have an escape route and sell the company for IRP 100. The Staff, Creditors, Bank and Revenue are protected and we are free to leave Ireland. We lose our company and ten years work but it could have been worse.

We had received the undertaking from a senior IDA executive that the Staff, Creditors, Bank and Revenue would be protected. But IDA are consistent in their ethics and do not keep their word. They sell the factory to another entity and Willie Holt (Ireland) Ltd is asset stripped and the creditors and the Revenue Commissioners are defrauded. All exports cease.  More

Presenting Willie (Holt) Ireland Ltd II, The Sequel, The Tax Scam.

Now you would be forgiven for thinking that that would be the end of it but you underestimate the boys. The business no longer exists but the Irish State agencies approve a BES scheme using the Holt catalogue. Forbairt continues to count the company as a client company in their “job creation” statistics. More

“IDA Ireland have nothing to do with IDA Ireland or our Company”

Since that time the IDA had consistently denied that it has ever had any dealings with us. Aside from the obvious abandonment of ethical standards that this attitude involves and aside from the fact this it is simply untrue what is the motivation behind this attitude? Is this an ongoing high level cover-up of IDA’s involvement in criminal activity? Is this an ongoing cover-up managed by IDA’s legal department and senior management?  More


Overall Strategic Errors

Looking back at the situation and listening to the tapes of conversations it is clear that our approach to our dealings with these agencies was entirely wrong.  More