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Monday 29 May 2017

McDowell to sue over loan claim

Fingleton link 'completely untrue'

SHOCKED BY REPORT: Michael McDowell
SHOCKED BY REPORT: Michael McDowell
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Former justice minister Michael McDowell, "shocked" by a report in the Irish Daily Mail that he had a loan "fast-tracked" by former Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton is to sue the newspaper for libel.

Confirming yesterday that he had placed the newspaper report in the hands of his lawyers, the former attorney general said: "It's completely untrue."

The eminent senior counsel and former Progressive Democrat TD was responding to a report in the Irish Daily Mail on Friday that Mr Fingleton had "got close" to certain politicians like himself and former Fine Gael TD Michael Lowry by fast-tracking loans and breaking Irish Nationwide policy.

Mr Lowry had no comment yesterday, although it is understood he, too, disputes that he had a loan fast-tracked.

Mr McDowell, who was attorney general and justice minister from 2002 to 2007, said that the report was "completely untrue and I am suing them".

The report also made the same allegations against former enterprise minister Mr Lowry, to the effect that he was the recipient of a similar fast-tracked loan from Mr Fingleton, who was chief executive of the Irish Nationwide until his retirement at the end of 2009.

Mr Fingleton was paid €1m on top of his salary when the board asked him to stay on for an extra year after his retirement date -- and agreed to pay him the same salary as he was paid the previous year.

Although he disputes that the €1m was a "bonus" Mr Fingleton is refusing to give back the money until he gets copies of investigations carried out by the society.

Mr Fingleton has told the Sunday Independent that if he reaches a satisfactory agreement with Irish Nationwide, he will give the €1m to charity.

Sunday Independent

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