Finance officials demand more details on 'secret' BoI payout
DEPARTMENT of Finance officials told Bank of Ireland yesterday that they were not satisfied with the bank's explanations about a 'secret' €500,000 bonus to a senior executive.
The department has now written to chief executive Richie Boucher to demand additional information about the bonus.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is seeking to understand why the bank failed to notify his department and the National Treasury Management Agency -- which is responsible for the day-to-day contact with banks where the State is a significant shareholder -- about the bonus.
Both Allied Irish Banks and Anglo Irish Bank provided the department with details of previous bonus payments.
Last week, Mr Lenihan ordered AIB not to pay bonuses worth €40m and related to work carried out in 2008.
Details of the €500,000 bonus, paid to a senior figure in Bank of Ireland Asset Management, were first revealed by the Irish Independent. It is the second time Mr Boucher has embarrassed Mr Lenihan.
In April, the bank's annual report revealed that the banker had received a pension top-up worth €1.5m.
Mr Boucher was later forced to forgo the pension after a national outcry.
He also earned €623,000 in salary despite a government cap on salaries of €500,000.
The bank's decision to pay senior figures so well despite support from the taxpayer is seen as a poor reward for Mr Lenihan, who resisted many calls from the opposition parties and his own party to force the bank to appoint an outsider to the top job.
Mr Boucher came from the bank's retail division where he had been responsible for many loans to developers. Rival AIB also appointed an insider as chief executive after a public row with Mr Lenihan but is now expected to appoint an outsider to replace him.
Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin said yesterday that Mr Lenihan should have been informed.
"But I suppose it all happened very, very quickly, the various pieces of legislation, the new moves, the new authority being established, so hopefully by the beginning of the new year everybody will know the responsibilities that they have to the Irish taxpayer," she added.