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Fingleton cited as witness in dismissal claim

DISGRACED former Irish Nationwide chairman Michael Fingleton will be called as a witness over the sacking of a former manager at the building society, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.

The case is being taken by Brendan Beggan (48) -- the partner of Nationwide whistleblower Olivia Green who last year revealed Mr Fingleton fast-tracked loans to Fianna Fail politicians including €1.6m for former European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

It is understood Mr Beggan, who was dismissed as manager of the Monaghan Nationwide branch in July 2009, has €2m in outstanding loans and mortgages with Nationwide for five properties in Co Monaghan, including his home.

All the loans and top-ups given to him were approved by Mr Fingleton, Mr Beggan's counsel Mary Paula Guinness told the tribunal. She added that she would be seeking to serve Mr Fingleton orders to appear as a witness in June along with several others.

If Mr Fingleton, who left Nationwide in April 2009 after becoming embroiled in controversy over a €1m bonus he awarded himself, is served with the order he will be legally obliged to give evidence.

However, he will have to be served with the order personally. If he is successfully served, and refuses to appear, he can be arrested. Opening statements on the case were not heard yesterday because the tribunal ran out of time after negotiations to settle the case failed.

Mr Beggan claims he was bullied and harassed by the now-nationalised society over the loans and mortgages he holds with it within a month of Ms Green first speaking out against her former employers in 2007.

She testified against the society in a High Court case involving disgraced solicitor Michael Lynn when she said Mr Fingleton had told her to approve a €4.1m loan for him and left Nationwide the following year.


The tribunal which will resume on June 30 heard that Mr Beggan, who is currently unemployed, has three outstanding issues with the building society:

  • Loans and mortgages on the five properties.
  • Bullying and harassment claims, which are on appeal following an earlier hearing.
  • A company car.

Yesterday, Ms Guinness and counsel for the company, Ercus Stewart, agreed that the society would provide the hearing with information on the loan applications, top-ups and mortgages on the five properties no later than two weeks before the June date.

Mr Fingleton has refused repeated requests from Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to pay back the €1m bonus that was signed off on before the Government pumped €5.4bn of taxpayers' money into Nationwide.

Irish Independent