Friday 22 September 2017

Fingleton seeks to stop Central Bank inquiry into Irish Nationwide

Former Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton
Former Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton

Tim Healy

Former Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) chief executive Michael Fingleton is seeking to prevent the Central Bank from conducting an inquiry into alleged regulatory breaches at the institution.

His case, which is expected to last a number of days, opened in the High Court yesterday.

Mr Fingleton, along with several other former officials of INBS, are the subject of an inquiry, under the 1942 Central Bank Act, which is due to commence hearings in February 2016.

The Central Bank wants to inquire into allegations that certain prescribed contraventions were committed between August 2004 and 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 €500,000.

INBS was nationalised and merged with the former Anglo Irish Bank, becoming the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) in 2011.

In his High Court proceedings, Mr Fingleton seeks various orders and declarations from the court in respect of the Central Bank's decision to launch an inquiry. Mr Fingleton claims that proceeding with the inquiry is a breach of fair procedures and an unlawful breach of his right to a fair hearing.

It is argued the Central Bank cannot conduct an inquiry of this nature.

This is because Mr Fingleton, who retired in 2010, is no longer involved in the management of an entity that is a regulated financial service provider, it is argued. It is also claimed there was a lengthy delay by the Central Bank in bringing the inquiry.

The Central Bank is opposing the application, and says the inquiry should proceed.

The action continues before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan.

Irish Independent

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