Web Summit chief executive Paddy Cosgrave has allegedly hacked into a rival Irish event company, allegations have been made in recently filed court documents.
The charge is one of many charges against Mr Cosgrave in an affidavit filed by Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey against Manders Terrace, the company’s holding company, which hosts tech-focused events.
Mr. Hickey, who owns 7% of the capital of Web Summit through Lasvisax Ltd, has taken legal action against Mr. Cosgrave, his entity, Proto Roto Ltd and the holding company Manders Terrace Ltd.
In the affidavit, which was filed with the High Court, it is alleged that Mr Cosgrave admitted to hacking the Dublin Tech Summit after seeking to fill the void left by Web Summit’s move to Lisbon.
Mr Hickey said in the High Court documents that he had no idea of the value of the business as he did not have access to financial information other than the abbreviated accounts filed with the Registry Office. companies.
Mr Hickey, who estimates the Web Summit business to be worth between 200 and 350 million euros, says Mr Cosgrave has failed to meet corporate governance standards, has embarked on a concerted strategy for the force to withdraw from the company and refused to comply with a profit share agreed with its co-founders.
It is also claimed that Mr Cosgrave, the managing director of the event company, engaged in unsavory behavior which damaged the company and used funds without authorization or supervision.
Mr Hickey, who alleges Mr Cosgrave sought to coerce him out of part of his stake in the company, said he realized his former colleague was a “highly egocentric, manipulative, volatile individual. and vindictive “.
He said Mr. Cosgrave demands “unsupervised control over all the affairs of the business and seeks to run it entirely for his own benefit and without any oversight.”
“Mr. Cosgrave’s behavior was and remains completely unpredictable in the way he seeks to run the business. When challenged or questioned about his conduct, Mr. Cosgrave generally reacts with extraordinary vitriol, ”he said.
“He will stop at nothing to get revenge on those whom he believes to have been disloyal or who despised him in a real or imagined way,” added Mr Hickey.
It is claimed that Mr. Cosgrave has been “unnecessarily destructive of business and employee relations” due to his “explosive temper, which he frequently exercises”. The affidavit states that “this has been and continues to be damaging to the business and reputation of the company.”
Mr. Hickey alleges that although he did his best to leave Web Summit amicably, he was forced to leave the company.
It is alleged that Mr. Cosgrave engaged in other conduct detrimental to the company. This included allegations that the Irish government offered the Web Summit “secret money”, advertisements and Facebook posts seen as attempts to coerce potential partners and “petty blood feuds” against politicians and men. business people, including Denis O’Brien.
Mr Cosgrave is also accused of alienating Andreesen Horowitz, one of the world’s largest tech-focused venture capital firms with more than $ 18 billion in assets under management.
He is also accused of having used € 50,000 of corporate funds to have taken a 0.25% stake in Camile Thai and to have spent more than 10 million euros to transform Web Summit into a software company. rather than an event company.
Mr Hickey’s claims follow a lawsuit brought by another Web Summit shareholder, David Kelly.
Mr. Kelly co-founded Web Summit with Mr. Cosgrave and Mr. Hickey and owns 12% of the business through a company called Graiguearidda Ltd.
In his action, Mr Kelly claims he was oppressed as a minority shareholder of Web Summit and that Mr Cosgrave struck a potential € 200million deal to sell the company in 2017 without notifying his commercial partner.
The dispute between the founders first arose after Manders Terrace alleged in separate legal proceedings, initiated in Ireland and the United States earlier this year, that Mr Kelly breached his obligations to the company by attempting to secretly use Web Summit resources to create an investment fund with Patrick Murphy for his personal gain.
In response to Mr. Hickey’s affidavit, a spokesperson for Web Summit said:
“We reject the baseless allegations contained in Daire Hickey’s opportunistic lawsuit and note his totally one-sided version of the circumstances surrounding his exit from Web Summit.”