Thursday 23 November 2017

Anglo auditors paid €250,000

Emmet Oliver and Michael Brennan

Ernst & Young, the firm that audited the books of Anglo Irish when several controversial transactions took place, has been paid almost €250,000 in fees for providing "banking advice'' to the Financial Regulator, documents show.

The firm, which failed to discover the loans Sean FitzPatrick hid from shareholders, was paid €120,000 during 2009 and has received €121,095 so far this year, figures provided by the Department of Finance show.

The firm has been replaced at Anglo by Deloitte and its role in Anglo will now be investigated.

The auditors failed to disclose to shareholders a range of issues including the true scale of directors' loans and the extent of Sean Quinn's shareholding in Anglo.

The role of the audit firm in the deposits that passed between Anglo Irish and Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) is also likely to be probed. It is likely to query whether Ernst & Young should have forced Anglo to provide full disclosure of this transaction.

Meanwhile, the firm that once provided legal advice to Anglo Irish Bank has earned more than €10m for advising the Government on the banking rescue.

Arthur Cox has also got contracts to provide legal advice to NAMA and the National Pension Reserve Fund and is the main legal firm employed by the HSE.

The Government appointed Aurthur Cox to advise on the banking crisis without holding a competitive tender, saying an emergency response was required. It received €1.6m in 2008, €5.8m last year and €3m so far this year.

It has carried out work for the Department of Finance on the bank guarantee scheme, NAMA, the recapitalisation of the banks, the examination of the books of Irish Nationwide and EBS Building Society and the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank.

Arthur Cox, which formerly advised Anglo Irish Bank, discontinued providing legal services to the lender last year after the firm was hired by the Government to advise on its bank guarantee scheme.

Arthur Cox's chairman Eugene McCague is also a member of the board of the HSE.

Irish Independent

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