Sunday 23 July 2017

Central Bank paid €30m to consultants last year

Gordon Deegan

LAW firm Arthur Cox and US bank Goldman Sachs have raked in millions for advising state agencies on the banking collapse.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed that the Central Bank paid out €29.9m last year in fees to consultants in relation to the banking crisis.

The latest €29.9m means state agencies have so far spent €88m on consultants in relation to the banking crisis.

The Central Bank racked up the largest fees, spending €38.4m on consultants since 2008.

Last year, the Central Bank paid €29.9m to firms compared to €1.3m in 2010; €3.4m in 2009 and €3.8m in 2008.

Unlike other state agencies such as the Department of Finance, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF), the Central Bank is declining to name the consultants it has employed.

In a written response to Fianna Fail Finance Spokesman, Michael McGrath, Mr Noonan stated: "The Central Bank of Ireland has advised that it cannot provide details of payments to individual consultants due to commercial confidentiality reasons."

Mr Noonan did not, though, explain why the fees paid to consultants by the Central Bank last year was significantly higher than any other year.

The minister also confirmed that the NTMA has paid €31.6 million in consultants' fees; the Department of Finance has paid out €13.59m and the NTRF paid €4.18m since 2008.

The biggest winner of the named firms is legal firm Arthur Cox -- taking in €23.51m in fees.

Mr Noonan confirmed that Arthur Cox received an additional €1.28m from the Department of Finance last year to bring to €13.59m the amount it has received from the Department of Finance since 2008.

The fees are for work done on the bank guarantee scheme; the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme; recapitalisation and restructuring issues and general banking advice.

Mr Noonan confirmed that Arthur Cox received an additional €7.74m in fees from the NTMA for legal advice and €2.18m from the NPRF concerning due diligence on the Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank prior to recapitalisation and legal advice in respect of directed investments.

He also confirmed that the NTMA paid Merrill Lynch €7.33m and €6.96m to Rothschild for the provision of banking advisory services on NTMA.

Goldman Sachs was paid €6.29m on the capital-raising exercise of the four financial institutions, AIB, Bank of Ireland, EBS and Irish Life and Permanent following the announcement of the results of the Central Bank's assessments of the institutions last March.

Irish Independent

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