Thursday 27 June 2019

IBRC inquiry could cost €100m, says former CEO

Former IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley
Former IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Former IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley has claimed that the Cregan Commission of Inquiry will cost as much as €100m.

The probe was set up to examine deals where the State booked big losses when IBRC sold assets, including the sale of Siteserv to businessman Denis O'Brien, who is also a significant shareholder in INM which publishes this newspaper and others.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said last week that the probe could cost up to €25m.

In a statement issuedon Tuesday, Mr Aynsley said the final bill for investigating asset sales by IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank, could reach €100m and that it had been launched without firm evidence.

"It wouldn't surprise me if it's up to €100m when the costs of all parties are paid and we find ourselves many years down the road," he said.

Mr Aynsley said that in his view the Government had been urged to commence an "extraordinarily expensive investigation on dubious grounds".

"The IBRC Commission was set up based on misrepresentation of information by faceless people with an ulterior agenda," he claimed.

"Given the lack of validated detail and transparency around what and who has driven this outcome, I find it incredibly disappointing that the Irish taxpayer is yet again being lumped with this massive cost," he said.

In a wide-ranging statement, Mr Aynsley said more than 30 lawyers are now working at the commission.

He said the commission should also examine the motivation and sources of allegations that spurred its creation.

Last month, the Government refused to increase the fees paid to lawyers involved in commissions of investigation, in response to a request from Mr Justice Brian Cregan, the judge overseeing the IBRC inquiry..

Senior counsel working on commissions of investigation are paid €788 per day, while junior counsel earn €394.

In an interim report to the Government last December, Mr Justice Brian Cregan sought for fees to be brought in line with those paid to barristers working at the Disclosures Tribunal, where senior counsel are paid €1,500 per day, while junior counsel earn €800 per day.

The Taoiseach refused that request, following discussions with opposition parties and amid concerns about the knock-on impact on the cost of other commissions of investigation if the request were to be granted.

Irish Independent

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