Tax-evading Irish lawmaker Lowry loses libel case

An Irish lawmaker at the heart of Ireland's first major corruption scandal has lost a libel judgment against the journalist who broke the story of his illicit gifts.

Monday's Dublin High Court ruling found that journalist Sam Smyth had reasonable grounds of evidence to describe lawmaker Michael Lowry as "a liar and a tax cheat."

Lowry's lawyers had sought a judgment that Smyth, one of Ireland's most prominent journalists, had no reasonable defense for his claims and had defamed Lowry as "a thief."

In 1996 Smyth revealed that Irish supermarket baron Ben Dunne provided secret gifts to Lowry and former Prime Minister Charles Haughey.

Lowry and his company in 2007 paid euro1.4 million ($1.9 million) in undeclared tax liabilities and penalties linked to those gifts.