Coolmore boss John Magnier gave envelopes containing €50,000 in cash to members of the Thomson Moore family of Barne Estate because he believed they were “strapped for cash”, according to court documents seen by the Irish Farmers Journal.

Magnier’s legal team has detailed the circumstances which they say led to John and his son John Paul driving to Barne Estate and handing over two envelopes with €25,000 in each for Richard Thomson Moore and his sister Alexandra Thomson Moore.

The latest court filings claim that following John Magnier’s disputed handshake deal with Richard Thomson Moore to buy the 751ac Barne Estate on 22 August 2024, auctioneer John Stokes told Magnier that he received “abusive and threatening phone calls” from Maurice Regan.

Stokes told Magnier that construction millionaire Maurice Regan was putting pressure on him and Richard Thomson Moore not to honour the deal, the court documents allege.

Stokes, a family friend and agent for the Thomson Moores, had previously told John Magnier that the Thomson Moores were “strapped for cash”, the documents allege, including that some land at Barne was to be rented for potatoes in order to maximise their income.

Magnier decided to 'do something for the Thomson Moores to make their lives a bit easier'

John Magnier, it is claimed, was moved by this information to set up a €500,000 trust for Richard and Anna Thomson Moore’s son.

In addition, Magnier decided to “do something for the Thomson Moores to make their lives a bit easier and in appreciation of their resisting the pressure put on them”.

The documents state that following discussions with auctioneer John Stokes, it was agreed on behalf of the Thomson Moores that Magnier would make a cash payment to them, which Richard requested be divided into a payment of €25,000 to himself and €25,000 to his sister Alexandra.

On 7 September 2023, John and John Paul Magnier met with John Stokes, Richard and Alexandra Thomson Moore outside Barne, where Stokes collected the cash from John Paul Magnier.

However, four days later, on 11 September, Stokes returned the money to John Paul Magnier.

Barne Estate is a 751ac residential tillage estate outside Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

The Magnier legal team claims that Thomson Moore “belatedly returned the envelopes for entirely self-interested reasons and not as a matter of principle”, seeing as he had not mentioned or made any attempt to return the money when he visited Coolmore on 8 September.

The court filings state that Stokes told the Magniers that Richard Thomson Moore was concerned that a Barne employee had witnessed the envelopes being collected on 7 September, which made him uncomfortable.

The dinner deal

The Magnier legal team has disputed that Richard Thomson Moore, as he has claimed, did not have the legal ability to make the deal on 22 August for the sale of Barne.

They also dispute his assertion that the discussions and agreements made at the 22 August dinner were only discussions in principle.

“The meeting at Coolmore House on 22 August 2023 was arranged on the basis that the attendees at that meeting would be in a position to do a deal that evening and this was made clear to Mr Stokes when the arrangements were made for that meeting,” the Magnier legal team alleged.

They claim that the attendees that evening – John and Susan Magnier, Richard and Anna Thomson Moore and auctioneer John Stokes - “sat down to discuss concluding an agreement for the sale of the lands and/or the shares”.

The Coolmore side also denies that Stokes told those present that trustee approval was required for a deal.

They also deny the Barne side’s claim that Anna Thomson Moore “made it clear”, before numbers were discussed, that no one in the room had “legal capacity” to approve a transaction and that any potential transaction would need trustee approval, which could not be obtained until at least the following day.

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