Tuesday 22 October 2019

Central Bank monitoring developments in INM case

Former INM chairman Leslie Buckley stood down in March
Former INM chairman Leslie Buckley stood down in March
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Central Bank is monitoring the corporate governance controversy at Independent News & Media (INM).

The bank, whose functions include policing market abuse regulations on "inside information", is understood to consider itself an "interested party" in proceedings involving the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) and INM.

The ODCE is seeking the appointment of inspectors to the country's largest media group.

Lawyers for the Central Bank sought a hearing from High Court President Peter Kelly to apply for access to legal documents filed in the case by the ODCE and INM.

However, the bank's "provisional application" for these documents was withdrawn yesterday. No reason for the withdrawal was given, but the Irish Independent understands the bank is considering making an application at a future date.

INM is opposing the move to appoint inspectors. Judicial review proceedings get underway next Wednesday.

Among other matters, the ODCE wants inspectors to examine if inside information was shared by former INM chairman Leslie Buckley with the company's largest shareholder, Denis O'Brien. Mr Buckley, who stepped down in March, was Mr O'Brien's nominee to the board.

INM has said it is "not asserting" that the sharing of information "was in every respect appropriate". However, in an affidavit INM director Dr Len O'Hagan said there was "a difference in view" between INM and the ODCE as to the extent of permitted communications.

Dr O'Hagan said there was no suggestion from the ODCE that information was used in dealings in INM securities or for other unlawful purposes.

In a statement the Central Bank said it does not comment on whether or not it is conducting an investigation into a particular matter.

"If a suspicion is brought to the Central Bank's attention that inside information has been unlawfully disclosed, or is used in acquiring or disposing of a financial instrument or related instruments, the Central Bank will examine the circumstances and take appropriate action as required," the statement said.

Irish Independent

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