Friday 20 October 2017

Whistleblower McErlean to get official apology from Regulator

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

One of best-known whistleblowers in Irish banking, Eugene McErlean (below) of AIB, is to get an official apology for his past treatment from the current Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield, the Irish Independent understands.

Mr McErlean was AIB's former group internal auditor who warned in 2001 about a major overcharging problem at the bank. But despite warning the bank and the regulatory authorities about the problem in 2001 and 2002, he claims no action was taken.

Mr Elderfield, it is understood, contacted Mr McErlean yesterday and will apologise at an Oireachtas committee tomorrow for the way the authorities reacted.

The vindication comes after years of raising the issue of regulation at the banks and Mr Elderfield's precise wording will be watched closely.

Overcharging

Mr McErlean claimed that the Financial Regulator knew about overcharging in AIB in 2001/ 2002 but failed to protect consumers, despite carrying out its own investigation in 2002. He also claimed the regulator failed to inform an Oireachtas inquiry about its investigation and gave the impression it was unaware of overcharging until 2004.

Mr McErlean first raised the overcharging issue in 2001 and the Central Bank was provided with a copy of a report, with AIB itself promising to undertake a complete review of its systems.

However, Mr McErlean claims he was removed from his position in 2002 around the same time he met the Financial Regulator about the overcharging issue and other concerns.

Giving evidence last year, Mr McErlean said: "I do not know the exact reason I was removed but there is a coincidence of timing. I met the chief executive of the regulator in May 2002.

"Initially, he appeared very concerned and thought it was a very serious matter . . . In October 2002, he invited me to meet him again. However, he only wanted me to state that I had withdrawn all the allegations."

Irish Independent

Also in Business