Monday 18 December 2017

Ex-Anglo probe chief has bagged €590,000 since early retirement

Retired early: Paul Appleby. Photo: Damien Eagers
Retired early: Paul Appleby. Photo: Damien Eagers

Anne-Marie Walsh

The man in charge of the botched Anglo Irish Bank probe has enjoyed retirement benefits worth almost €590,000 since he retired five years ago.

Former director of corporate enforcement Paul Appleby controversially retired early on an annual pension of €73,000, on top of a €225,000 lump sum - most of it tax free.

The corporate watchdog, whose office came in for severe criticism in the Circuit Court this week, made great efforts to ensure nothing was wanting when it came to his exit package.

The circumstances surrounding his decision to retire early to avoid cuts to his pension due to wage reductions are now back in the spotlight following the collapse of the trial of former Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick.

Mr Appleby tried to boost his pension by asking Government officials to take account of seven months when he worked for Ryanair in the 1980s. This idea was shot down.

However, the Government was desperate to get him to stay as long as possible in his role when he dropped the bombshell that he planned to retire in the middle of the Anglo investigation.

It allowed him to leave on an early retirement scheme that was not open to his civil service grade as director of corporate enforcement, and meant he would get the highest possible pension.

He agreed to stay on in his role as director for six months while a replacement was found.

In his director role, he was on a grade that was not entitled to retire until the age of 65.

However, under the terms of his contract he was entitled to return to his former role as a principal officer in the civil service on his director's salary if his position as a director was terminated.

He was permitted to resign as director and return to being a principal officer for 24 hours. He was then reappointed as acting director for six months.

This allowed him to avail of an early retirement scheme that allowed public servants including principal officers to retire with pensions and lump sums based on their wages before pay cuts imposed during the recession.

As a result, his pension was based on his pre-pay cut director's salary of €150,712 rather than the principal officer rate of €92,672.

At the time, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform described the arrangement as "purely procedural".

He met former enterprise minister Richard Bruton the day before the Cabinet was informed of his decision to retire.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin reappointed him acting director of corporate enforcement.

Mr Appleby previously worked at the Department of Enterprise.

Irish Independent

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