Business Irish

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Lenihan asks Anglo board to reconsider legal privilege over staff files

Tim Healy

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has asked the board of Anglo Irish Bank to reconsider its assertion of legal privilege over certain information seized by the Director of Corporate Enforcement for his investigation into the bank, the Commercial Court heard yesterday.

The electronic documents relate to 20 employees of the bank during the period January 2008 to February 2009.

The court heard that the Anglo board had yesterday morning received a reply from Mr Lenihan to its letter sent to him after Mr Justice Peter Kelly had urged the bank "at the highest level" to look again at whether it should maintain the assertion of legal professional privilege (LPP) over some documents in circumstances where that claim was delaying the investigation.

Impediment

Mr Lenihan said the board should reconsider this and other matters, the court heard.

On June 3 last, the judge said the assertion of LPP was "a considerable impediment" to the investigation and urged the bank to address the issue.

While the bank was entitled to assert LPP over advice given to it, it should consider whether it would be "wise or prudent" to do so, the judge said.

It was curious that Anglo, a wholly state-owned bank, was continuing to assert LPP in an investigation being carried out by a state official into the affairs of the bank prior to it being taken into state ownership, he added.

The judge adjourned the matter to July 2. He also continued to the same date orders allowing the director to retain electronic material seized for the purpose of examination.

Copies of the documents were being examined by staff from the director's office assisted by garda fraud squad officers.

Irish Independent

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