Gardai alerted by BoI as internal probe continues
Fraud squad called over 'possible irregularities'
BANK of Ireland (BoI) has notified the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations and the relevant financial regulatory authorities of possible irregularities in its private banking division.
A senior garda source confirmed to the Sunday Independent last night that a formal notification was forwarded by the bank in recent weeks.
The source said that the report was of a "general nature" and did not constitute a formal complaint.
The bank is obliged by law to report suspicions about possible irregularities to the authorities.
News of the bank's decision to notify gardai of its concerns comes just two weeks after the Sunday Independent first revealed that an inquiry is being conducted within BoI's private banking division.
The bank's internal auditors have been investigating what have been described by sources as "possible irregularities". BoI's auditors had already been inside the private banking division at various stages over the previous six weeks, conducting what one source described as a "thorough examination" of its activities.
The bank's audit team has been seeking to establish if any of its private banking clients' affairs have been handled in any way improperly.
The bank's management is understood to be treating the matter "very seriously". Commenting on this, one well-placed source told the Sunday Independent: "The investigation isn't complete yet. It's difficult to say when it will be complete.
"We are obliged to follow due process before we come to any conclusions."
Asked two weeks ago if BoI had brought in any third parties to assist with the investigation or if it had made contact with gardai, the source replied: "No, the matter is being dealt with internally and all appropriate procedures are being followed.
"There are very specific rules in relation to how internal audits operate. Should it be determined necessary to notify the gardai, then of course that will be done.
"But the bank cannot pre-determine the outcome of this inquiry."
Asked to comment on the ongoing inquiry, a spokesman for the bank said: "We don't comment on internal matters."
Following the publication of the story in the Sunday Independent on June 16, BoI issued a further statement in which it stressed that none of its private banking clients had been impacted.
"Whilst it is bank policy not to comment on internal matters, the bank confirms that no clients are impacted. The bank's commitment to providing a quality service remains a key priority and all our customers can be assured that there is no cause for concern," the statement said.