Saturday 17 March 2018

Inquiry into conduct of senior executives at Irish Nationwide begins

Former building society boss Michael Fingleton. Photo: Frank McGrath
Former building society boss Michael Fingleton. Photo: Frank McGrath

Sean Duffy

The inquiry into the conduct of senior executives at former building society Irish Nationwide began in Dublin this morning.

Key management personnel - including former chief executive Michael Fingleton - are under investigation for potential breaches of seven separate financial regulations known as Suspected Prescribed Contraventions.

The allegations against Mr Fingleton, William Garfield McCollum, Tom McMenamin, John Stanley Purcell and Michael Walsh relate to actions at Irish Nationwide between August 2004 and September 2008.

Representatives of Mr McCollum and Mr McMenamin were not present this morning, but the inquiry heard that both had been adequately served with notice of proceedings prior to today's hearing.

The inquiry will examine 110,000 documents relating to the period in question. Proceedings had been scheduled to run for 45 days, but given the volume of material under examination, it was stated that the inquiry is likely to run for longer.

Mr Fingleton's lawyers are to mount an application for a stay on proceedings which will be heard this afternoon or tomorrow.

The inquiry also heard that an application for termination of proceeding from Mr Walsh would be heard on December 13 and 14.

The inquiry will examine whether or not INBS processed commercial loans applications correctly; the manner in which Commercial Mortgage Offers were issued; whether or not INBS ensured that securities for commercial loans were obtained; whether or not INBS effectively monitored commercial lending; whether or not the company's credit committee had performed in accordance with the company's internal policies; whether or not the credit committee provided relevant reports about commercial lending to the board of directors and whether or not INBS failed to ensure that profit share agreements were subject to any formal risk policy. 

Irish Nationwide was nationalised in 2010 when it received taxpayer bailout of €5.4bn.

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