Friday 2 December 2016

Central Bank in court move against manager of fraud-hit credit union

Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30

Anne Butterly
Anne Butterly

The Central Bank is taking a High Court action to have the manager of scandal-hit Rush Credit Union suspended from holding a management position in any financial-services firm.

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Anne Butterly has been temporarily suspended from her position by the Central Bank, but the regulator needs to get High Court approval to have her suspended for a further three months.

The move follows the discovery of suspected fraud at the north County Dublin credit union, with the total lost now thought to be close to double the original amount.

Investigations show that some €1.2m is missing, not the €700,000 that was originally feared. Those who may be responsible for the fraud are unknown at this point.

In June, this newspaper reported suspected financial irregularities at the credit union.

It has now emerged that the board of Rush Credit Union suspended Ms Butterly (pictured) on full pay in March.

Then, in early June, the Central Bank suspended Ms Butterly from acting in any management role in a financial institution under its fitness and probity regulations.

It was able to do this without recourse to the High Court.

But in order to extend this, it needs permission from the courts, with the civil case listed for September 9.

Three separate investigations are being carried out into the suspected fraud.

The board of the credit union has appointed Grant Thornton to probe its finances, after being urged to do this by the Central Bank.

The Grant Thornton report is now complete. The probe was headed up by Grant Thornton's director of forensic and investigation services, Patrick D'Arcy, a former garda detective and accountant. He also worked in the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Gardaí are also investigating the finances of the credit union, having been informed of suspected financial irregularities in March. They are understood to have visited the premises in June, after this newspaper had broken the story.

The Central Bank is carrying out an investigation under its enforcement supervision powers.

As part of its efforts to extend its suspension of Ms Butterly, the Central Bank's head of investment firms and funds supervision, Michael Hodson, has sworn an affidavit for the High Court.

Ms Butterly is understood to earn around €60,000 a year, a lower figure than other managers due to ongoing financial problems at the credit union.

In June, it was revealed €1.2m had been set aside from the Irish League of Credit Unions' rescue fund to plug holes in the credit union's finances.

The credit union has a fraud insurance policy with Liberty Insurance and there is no risk to member funds, a number of sources have stressed.

The credit union, which also covers the village of Lusk, has 12,000 active members and around €10.5m in loans. It holds savings of around €25m.

Efforts to contact Ms Butterly were unsuccessful. Both the board of Rush Credit Union and the Central Bank had no comment.

Irish Independent

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