Details of Fingleton's watch gift 'protected' says store
UPMARKET jewellers Paul Sheeran has told Anglo Irish Bank that "data protection reasons" prohibit disclosure of details about the €11,500 watch bought at the store as a parting gift for deposed Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton.
The news comes a fortnight after Anglo, which is charged with dealing with Nationwide's "legacy issues", became aware of the watch's existence and called on Mr Fingleton to return it.
Anglo chief Mike Aynsley last night confirmed the bank had written to the jewellers asking for full details of the lavish gift, which the bank's records show was bought at the Paul Sheeran store off Grafton Street in Dublin, in April 2009.
"A refusal was received within days citing data protection reasons," he said. "I find it unacceptable as we provided evidence that the bank's funds were used and that the purchase was made on behalf of the bank."
He added that Anglo would take its request "to the next level" but declined to say what that would be.
Asked about the situation last night, boss Paul Sheeran said he was "legally obliged not to talk about anyone else's business" to a third party.
Anglo is arguing that it is effectively the original purchaser, since collapsed Irish Nationwide was subsumed into Anglo earlier in the summer. The situation is complicated by the fact that the watch was paid for in cash, so the bank has no cheque stub or credit card tying the purchase to Nationwide.
The receipt lists the amount, but not the type of the watch.
Earlier this week, Mr Aynsley confirmed that the investigation was also looking at "a number of other discrepancies" which the bank was planning to follow up on. These discrepancies are believed to relate to Mr Fingleton's expenses.
The bank has written to Mr Fingleton asking him to return the watch, as well as a €1m bonus he has already promised to return. No response has yet been received. Repeated efforts to contact Mr Fingleton for comment have been unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, trade unions and Anglo met yesterday to discuss the bank's plans to axe about 130 Irish jobs between now and the end of 2012. Sources describe the meetings as "cordial".
The nationalised bank is hoping to publish full details of its severance package within 30 days. The department has been pushing all State-owned banks to confine redundancy packages to three weeks' pay plus two weeks' statutory redundancy for each year of service.