Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (78)

Michael McGrath

Question:

78. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will state, in respect of each of the former covered institutions, if internal and or external telephone calls were recorded by the bank; when the recording of telephone calls commenced; the current practice; if any such recordings from 2008 onwards have been passed on to the authorities as part of their investigation into certain matters associated with the banking collapse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18481/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware banks are required to record phone calls for a variety of reasons. I have not sought access to these recordings as under statute the Garda Síochána are the body responsible for criminal investigations in the State. I understand that the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation have requested access to various documents/materials in the banks, including audio recordings, and that the banks have fully complied with these investigations to date. It would be completely inappropriate for the Department of Finance to act outside of its legal powers and interfere with any investigation that could compromise potential future criminal or civil investigations by the bodies responsible under statute.

Any phone calls that are relevant around this period may feature as part of the forthcoming banking inquiry. Last year I wrote to the State supported banks except IBRC (in Special Liquidation) and requested that they retain any recordings which may be required as part of the banking inquiry. All of the institutions have responded to confirm that steps have been taken to ensure that any information has been retained and will be available to the inquiry. I was aware at the time of writing to the institutions that IBRC (in Special Liquidation) had already taken steps to protect any recordings. Under the proposed legislation responsibility is assigned exclusively to the Houses of the Oireachtas to determine the requirement for a formal inquiry, the terms of reference of that inquiry and the procedural and organisational aspects of the inquiry.