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Lender settles case with staff it accused of IFS takeover plot

A DISPUTE between AIB and several former senior executives – who the bank accused of secretly scheming to take over its international financial services (IFS) business – has been settled, the Commercial Court heard yesterday.

AIB had claimed the executives, and a number of European-based financial services companies, unlawfully conspired with a rival business to take over the clients, business and staff of AIB's IFS business after the bank decided to sell the the business to another group, Capita.

The individuals concerned and a number of defendant companies – Centralis SA based in Luxembourg, Centralis Switzerland and Centralis Hungary – had all denied the bank's claim. The companies had also pleaded that AIB's actions had prevented them from competing against IFS.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Charleton was informed by Michael McDowell SC for AIB that the action against all parties had been settled and could be struck out. No details of the settlement were revealed in open court, and the terms are believed to be confidential.

The case, had it gone on, was expected to last for four weeks.

The action was against former AIB executives Aidan Foley, formerly of Grawn, Kilmacthomas, Wexford; Gerry McEvoy, formerly of Shandon Park, Phibsboro, Dublin; Derek O'Reilly, of Fernleigh Drive, Castleknock, Dublin; and Joe Walsh, formerly of Grosvenor Terrace, Monkstown, Co Dublin.

AIB had brought similar actions against Pat Diamond, Elton Park, Sandycove in Dublin, and Andrew O'Shea, formerly of Ashbrook House, Julianstown, Co Meath. However, AIB's proceedings against those two individuals were settled some time ago.

In its action, the bank had claimed that the executives were behind a management buyout offer for AIB's IFS, which did not go ahead.

When AIB decided in June 2011 to sell the business to Capita, the executives set up a rival business to take over IFS business in a scheme known as "plan b", the bank alleged.

AIB claimed, after 25 directors and employees left IFS between June and August 2011, Capita had reduced from €55m to €33m its offer for IFS. It claimed the defendants' alleged actions led to it incurring significant loss and damage.

The defendants denied AIB's claims, denied wrongdoing and denied that confidential information was passed on to a rival. They also claimed there was no "non-compete" clauses in their contracts of employment.

It was also alleged AIB's actions were preventing the corporate defendants competing against IFS.

Irish Independent