Saturday 24 August 2019

'I could have been clearer,' says new Central Bank governor

Controversy: Gabriel Makhlouf accepted inquiry findings
Controversy: Gabriel Makhlouf accepted inquiry findings
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

The incoming Central Bank governor has admitted he could have handled a budget leak controversy in New Zealand "more clearly and with a different emphasis".

Gabriel Makhlouf told Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe in a letter last month he fully accepts the findings of an inquiry into the accidental leaking of sensitive budget information when he was New Zealand treasury secretary.

Ahead of his arrival in Dublin, Mr Makhlouf has been embroiled in controversy after he claimed his department had been "deliberately and systematically" hacked in May.

It later emerged the budget information had been accidentally posted on the department website two days before it was announced.

The Irish Independent has also learned Mr Makhlouf met Mr Donohoe when he was in Dublin at the end of last month to meet staff in the Central Bank.

The Department of Finance yesterday released a letter he wrote to Mr Donohoe three weeks ago - prior to his visit - in which he said he accepted the findings of a New Zealand civil service inquiry in full. "In hindsight, I accept I could have described the incident more clearly and with a different emphasis. I was pleased that my honesty, integrity and political neutrality are not in question," Mr Makhlouf wrote in the July 15 letter.

Mr Donohoe's spokeswoman said: "He and Minister Donohoe are looking forward to starting his new role as governor of the Central Bank of Ireland in early September."

Irish Independent

Also in Business