AIB to attempt settlement of its action against former executives
AIB has agreed to try to settle a legal action with six former senior executives it accused of secretly scheming to take over the clients, business and staff of the bank's international financial services business for their own gain.
Despite having earlier claimed in the High Court the bank was prepared to go to "full battle to the death" with the six men, whom it claims have cost the bank €22m by their actions, it later agreed to try to settle their dispute over the next few days before it is due to come before the court again on Monday.
The six executives are Pat Diamond from Elton Park, Sandycove in Dublin; Aidan Foley, formerly of Grawn, Kilmacthomas in Wexford; Gerry McEvoy, formerly of Shandon Park, Phibsboro in Dublin; Derek O'Reilly of Fernleigh Drive Castleknock in Dublin; Andrew O'Shea, formerly of Ashbrook House, Julianstown in Co Meath; and Joe Walsh, formerly of Grosvenor Terrace, Monkstown in Co Dublin.
Yesterday Judge Peter Kelly said the allegations on both sides were "very serious".
The bank claims the six poached clients and staff from AIB-IFS, a subsidiary company based at Dublin's International Financial Services Centre, to bring them to Centralis, a company they established in Luxembourg.
These actions significantly damaged the value of that company, it claims, which AIB has agreed to sell to the Capita Group.
The bank, which was selling the business as part of its efforts to raise cash as part of the Government's bank rescue plan, had originally struck a deal to dispose of the business for €55m but was subsequently forced to accept €33m because of the movement of some of its senior executives and clients.
That deal has yet to be finalised.
Brian O'Moore, representing the defendants, referred to the "brittle allegations" the bank had made against the men.
When Michael McDowell, acting for the bank, returned to say AIB would engage in mediation with its former employees, Judge Kelly said he welcomed "anything that could bring an end" to the matter, given the significant time and costs involved should the case be fully contested.
He said that if the talks did not produce any results AIB's application for the injunctions against the six would remain in place pending the full hearing of the action in the Commercial Court next week.
If that hearing goes ahead the court will also consider an application brought on behalf of one of the defendants, Mr O'Shea, aimed at dismissing AIB's action.
It is brought on the grounds that AIB failed to disclose important facts to the court when it sought the interim injunction.
The hearing is expected to last three days.