Wednesday 28 September 2016

Fingleton moves to block Central Bank inquiry into INBS

Aodhan O'Faolain and Ray Managh

Published 09/09/2015 | 02:30

Michael Fingleton: his counsel has claimed unfair procedure
Michael Fingleton: his counsel has claimed unfair procedure

Irish Nationwide Building Society's former CEO Michael Fingleton and ex-director John Stanley Purcell have launched High Court proceedings aimed at stopping the Central Bank from conducting an inquiry into alleged regulatory breaches.

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The two, along with others, are the subject of the Central Bank's inquiry into allegations relating to the period August 2004 to September 2008.

The inquiry, in the event of any finding of wrongdoing, has the power to impose a fine on an individual of up to €1m.

Mr Justice Michael White yesterday granted lawyers acting for both men permission to bring judicial proceedings aimed at preventing the Central Bank from holding the inquiry.

Both are seeking various orders and declarations from the court. They say that proceeding with the inquiry is a breach of fair procedures and of their rights to a fair hearing.

Barrister Francis Kieran, counsel for Mr Fingleton, said his client's challenge was based on a number of grounds, including that there had been a lengthy delay in bringing the inquiry.

It was also argued that the Central Bank could not conduct an inquiry of this nature because Mr Fingleton, who retired in 2010, was no longer involved in managing a regulated financial service provider.

Mr Kiernan said Mr Fingleton was also the subject of proceedings before the Commercial Court, also arising out of events at INBS before it was nationalised. The inquiry, at the very least, should not be conducted until those proceedings had been concluded, he said.

Other grounds included an apprehension of bias on the part of the Central Bank and the fact that Mr Fingleton had been the subject of a large volume of adverse media attention.

Constitution

The judge, after granting leave to bring the proceedings, on a ex parte basis, adjourned the cases to September 17.

Mr Purcell, of Fortfield Park, Terenure, Dublin 6w, who resigned as a director of INBS in 2010, had earlier sued the Central Bank and the State, claiming the inquiry and the powers it purports to exercise are unconstitutional.

He is seeking to block the inquiry until his constitutional challenge has been determined by the High Court.

Irish Independent

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