The massive fine was imposed because of an attempt to delete information from a PC during a raid by the Polish authorities who were investigating cartels in the cement industry. Yes, €530,000 for attempting to interfere with evidence, no messing there.
In Ireland, interfering with evidence is not seen as a serious crime, indeed, such activity has become an integral and acceptable part of our culture of corruption.
CRH has expressed ‘disappointment’ with the fine. The company was also ‘disappointed’ in January 2004 when the European Court of Justice upheld a €2 million fine for its part in a cartel to fix cement prices across Europe.
Obviously, CRH suffers a lot of disappointment when confronted with law enforcement agencies outside Ireland. But I’m sure the company takes great comfort in the special status it enjoys right here at home in Ireland. Here are just two examples.
Over 100,000 tons of waste was illegally dumped on Roadstone land at Dillonstown near Blessington lakes. It is thought that this waste has contaminated an important regional aquifer which was to be used as drinking water.
CRH have been completely absolved of any responsibility for this major environmental disaster by simply claiming they didn’t know anything about it, and the state is happy with that. The Director of Public Prosecutions, the Environmental Protection Agency and Wicklow County Council have all accepted that CRH has no case to answer.
But all is not lost; the Minister for the Environment has warned that landowners who ‘knowingly’ allowed an illegal dump on their land would be prosecuted. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to CRH because they didn’t know.
Massive tax evasion:
Des Traynor, a notorious criminal and bagman to another criminal Charles Haughey, was also chairman of CRH. Traynor operated an illegal bank from the headquarters of CRH at Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin.
The main activity of this mafia type operation was to facilitate massive tax evasion for a golden circle of ‘very important people’. At least eight board members of CRH were on Traynor’s books.
Of course, when the sleazy operation was exposed everybody, including Traynor’s CRH clients, was shocked to learn of such dastardly deeds going on right under their noses.
Needless to say, none of these important gentlemen have ever been questioned by a policeman, sure they didn’t know.