Friday 23 March 2018

Aynsley 'ordered to sell IBRC asset for €100m less than other offer'

Alan Dukes at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Alan Dukes at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

Clodagh Sheehy

A Department of Finance official ordered Mike Aynsley to sell a major asset for €100m less than one bidder had offered, the Banking Inquiry was told.

Mr Aynsley said he was told it would be better to sell the asset to a lower bidder instead of the unnamed businessman because of their identity. He also said he was told that the minister would support that view.

The former chief executive officer at Anglo/IBRC, was also critical of the Department of Finance and its officials, who "appeared increasingly to be driven by political considerations rather than supporting the very real challenges that the bank faced".

He said if he had any immediate concern, he was not certain that all valuable lessons had been learned to separate bank policy and operating functions within the State. It made him worry that "the Department will continue to direct banking policy but also take an active role in directing operations and the regulatory function".

Anglo's former chairman Alan Dukes also hit out at the poor relationship between the bank and the department.

He told the inquiry it seems that once the Department "conceived the perfectly valid strategy" of nationalising the bank, it then "decided not to have any trust in the institution it had set up".

"In the process, it wasted a great deal of time and has now created an unnecessary political controversy," he said.

Mr Dukes said the relationship between the nationalised bank and senior officials in the department was "unnecessarily complicated by the mistaken belief" that it should be run as a "subsidiary" of the department.

He agreed the blanket bank guarantee was the option that would have the least damaging effects on the economy.

Irish Independent

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