Sunday 4 December 2016

Bank inquiry members to be warned over leaking of material

Published 16/06/2015 | 02:30

Market sources say Bank of Ireland and AIB in particular are moving to take advantage of stronger prices and rising rents to sell off repossessed rental homes while also urging stressed borrowers still in possession to sell up
Market sources say Bank of Ireland and AIB in particular are moving to take advantage of stronger prices and rising rents to sell off repossessed rental homes while also urging stressed borrowers still in possession to sell up

Members of the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry will today be warned about the leaking of official documents after the statement of a former senior civil servant appeared in the media days before he was due to give evidence.

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TDs have expressed concern that the work of the Inquiry has been undermined following the alleged leak of a written statement due to be given on Thursday by former Secretary General at the Department of Finance Kevin Cardiff.

Mr Cardiff was the senior banking official at the Department of Finance on the night of the guarantee, September 29, 2008.

He is set to claim that senior bankers in AIB and Bank of Ireland explicitly sought a broad bank guarantee when they approached the Government for financial aid.

Mr Cardiff is also expected to claim he warned then-Taoiseach Brian Cowen about acceding to their request. He is to say he told Mr Cowen the banks would be laughing at them were they to introduce a blanket guarantee.

His evidence is expected to contrast sharply with testimony already given to the committee by senior bankers Eugene Sheehy, the former AIB chief executive, and Brian Goggin, the former CEO of Bank of Ireland.

Mr Sheehy has previously said AIB had only looked for and expected a four-bank guarantee, with Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide excluded.

Mr Goggin said it was his input that the system outside of Anglo and Irish Nationwide would need a guarantee for some period of time.

But it is understood that Mr Cardiff will claim on Thursday the banks wanted a broader guarantee.

The emergence of Mr Cardiff's evidence in the media days before he is due to give evidence has deeply alarmed Oireachtas officials.

Committee chairman Ciaran Lynch is expected to warn members at their meeting today that leaking material is an offence which carries a possible fine or term of imprisonment of up to five years.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would "deplore" a situation whereby the inquiry was undermined.

Separately today, the committee will discuss a request to call businessman Denis O'Brien as a witness.

Irish Independent

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