Thursday 23 November 2017

First finished Anglo Irish file ready for DPP

ALAN MURRAY and Jerome Reilly

THE first completed file in the two-year investigation into Anglo Irish Bank will be sent to the Garda Commissioner on Wednesday and is likely to be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the weekend, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Meanwhile, more than 2,400 AIB executives will have their cash bonuses -- averaging €16,000 each -- lodged into their bank accounts on Thursday.

There was outrage last week when it was revealed that AIB -- which has landed the State with billions of euros in debts -- agreed to pay more than €40m in bonuses to company executives and management. While the average is €16,000, some of them will get considerably more because many staff are not involved in the bonus scheme.

AIB insists that it is compelled to pay the 2008 performance bonuses because of a High Court ruling when one executive sued the bank over the payments.

Now it appears the bonus revelation at what was once Ireland's largest bank has the potential to derail the £3.25bn (€3.88bn) in loans from the British exchequer. The British government is to be asked to investigate the payments.

The news of the astonishing payments to executives couldn't come at a worse time. The bilateral loan facility from Britain includes a six-month review clause insisted on by the UK Treasury.

The loan is due to go before the UK parliament this week.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is already under pressure over the loans to Ireland and has had to clarify that he does not want to offer similar loans to any other eurozone country that gets into trouble.

Now the Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird of Artigarvan says he will be demanding answers from the British government about whether they knew about the bonus culture when they agreed to the loan.

Lord Laird said there was considerable outrage at this "unthinking action by the government-owned bank" and he said that many in Westminster believed that the Irish Government would default on repayments due to the UK.

"Now we discover that much of the money will be paid as massive bonuses to the already rich staff of the AIB who played an important part in bringing the Irish Republic to the brink of economic disaster," he said.

In total, the UK is lending nearly €8bn to Ireland by way of funds it has contributed to the International Monetary Fund and the European Union stability fund. The loan is still the subject of negotiation over the interest rate.

Sunday Independent

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