Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (81)

Michael McGrath


81. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of each of the separate investigations currently under way by the Central Bank of Ireland into the banking collapse; the subject matter being investigated; if he will provide an update in respect of each investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32531/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Central Bank of Ireland that in January, 2009, it (the “Bank”) commenced an investigation into certain matters in relation to Anglo Irish Bank. The investigation focused on the unwinding of CFD positions in Anglo Irish Bank, the back-to-back loans with Irish Life and Permanent and loans to directors and connected parties. In May, 2011, the Gardaí informed the Bank, following consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions, that to proceed with the Bank’s investigations at that time could prejudice any future criminal prosecutions. Accordingly, the Bank decided to defer its investigation but has kept this decision under review. Given the seriousness and sensitivity of criminal proceedings and the strength of the sanctions available to the Gardaí and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), the Bank considers that this is the most appropriate approach to take where there is a reasonable possibility of multiple proceedings. Regular liaison with these agencies is continuing.

In relation to Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS), an investigation into historical lending practices at INBS is at an advanced stage and, once concluded, decisions regarding any possible future enforcement proceedings will be made.

In addition to the above two investigations, the Bank commenced a review in June, 2011, of the fitness and probity of all sitting directors of the six banks and building societies covered by the State guarantee. This review concluded in June, 2012. In respect of a small number of directors, the Bank investigated more thoroughly their individual roles and responsibilities during the period leading up to the present banking crisis. During the period of the review, many of the long-standing directors of the six institutions have resigned.

In respect of any directors who continued in their roles into 2012 and beyond and who were in place prior to 2008, the Bank concluded that, based on the evidence available, it had no reason to suspect the fitness and probity of those individuals. In some cases, this decision was taken within the Bank and, in others, the Bank sought an external opinion on the material available.

In respect of any directors of the institutions, including those whose tenure goes back to before 2008, the Bank will continue to carry out its role in respect of the supervision of the fitness and probity of those directors. Where any information comes to light to give the Bank reason to suspect that the Bank’s standards may not be met by any individual director, then the Bank will commence to investigate that information in a thorough and comprehensive manner and take any action that may be warranted using the powers available.

New applications to sit on the boards of any of these institutions which remain under the Bank’s active supervision will require the applicants to establish, to the satisfaction of the Bank, that proposed directors meet the Bank’s minimum standards of fitness and probity.

In addition to the above, the Central Bank is carefully studying the various transcripts emerging in relation to Anglo Irish Bank. This is something that is viewed very seriously. The Central Bank will be liaising with the Gardaí in this regard and is also examining whether or not any breaches of regulatory requirements may have occurred arising from the information contained in the transcripts.