Former Nationwide director fails to stop inquiry
Stan Purcell, a former director and company secretary at the Irish Nationwide Building Society, has lost his High Court bid to stop a Central Bank inquiry into alleged regulatory breaches at the disgraced lender until his constitutional challenge against the inquiry is heard.
Mr Purcell, along with several other former officers of INBS, including long-time chief executive Michael Fingleton, are the subject of a Central Bank inquiry due to commence hearings next year.
Mr Fingleton has also launched judicial proceedings aimed at stopping the inquiry.
The Central Bank, which opposed both the challenge and the injunction application, has the power to impose a fine on an individual of up to €1m if any wrongdoing is found.
Mr Purcell had asked High Court judge Mr Justice Robert Eagar for an injunction until his constitutional challenge against the inquiry - brought under Part III C of the 1942 Central Bank Act - has been determined.
The injunction ruling was due to be delivered on September 29 next, but Judge Eagar gave his ruling last Saturday.
Mr Purcell, who retired in 2010, will now seek an early hearing of his constitutional action.
Last Friday Senior Counsel Paul Gallagher, for the Central Bank, told the High Court that the inquiry into alleged regulatory breaches at INBS by the Central Bank not only enjoys the "presumption of constitutionality" but is "essential for regulation" of the financial sector.
Mr Purcell claims that the proposed inquiry violates his constitutional rights, including his right to a trial by an independent judge.
In his main proceedings, Mr Purcell argues that the inquiry, and the powers it purports to exercise, are unconstitutional.
He claims the inquiry will act in a manner that is expressly reserved for the courts.
He also claims that the inquiry breaches his constitutional right to a trial, under Article 38 of the Constitution, as well as his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.