Saturday 20 January 2018

Irish Nationwide spent €90k on Fingleton pension advice

Michael Fingleton
Michael Fingleton

Tim Healy and  Cormac McQuinn

BUST building society Irish Nationwide spent €90,000 on pension advice and arrangements for its former boss Michael Fingleton.

The disgraced banker, who presided over the financial institution for decades, stepped down as the chief executive in 2009 – boasting a pension pot worth a staggering €27m in the years prior to his retirement.

The sum spent by the building society on arranging the generous pension provision emerged in the Commercial Court in a case taken against Mr Fingleton to retrieve a €1m bonus he was paid in his final months in charge.

Details also emerged of Mr Fingleton's extraordinary expenses with tens of thousand euro spent meeting the costs of exclusive hotels and restaurants as well as golf trips and jewellery purchases.

Newly revealed expenses include €3,255 spent on a gift for businessman Michael Smurfit bought in a liquor store in St Bartlelemy in the Caribbean and a €1,000 Brown Thomas gift token for a daughter of developer Gerry Gannon.

The special liquidators of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which incorporated Irish Nationwide as well as Anglo Irish Bank, are suing Mr Fingleton and four other directors of the building society which suffered losses of €6bn between 2008 and 2010.

They claim that the losses arose from development loans made while Mr Fingleton was chief executive.

The liquidators have argued that Fingleton should not have been paid a €1m performance bonus prior to his departure – but should have been summarily dismissed instead.

The case has been fast-tracked to the Commercial Court and is likely to be heard next year.

The former chief executive's expenses were relayed to the court, with the liquidators claiming that some of them were not appropriately incurred.

Expenses listed include:

* €12,180 for dental fees over two months in 2008.

* €6,000 for a Gucci watch bought at auction in 2006 and later re-auctioned, with the funds given to the charity, the Jack & Jill Foundation.

* €4,525 was also claimed for a New York jeweller, Maurice Columbus and some €8,000 for a Caribbean jeweller.

* €4,000 was claimed for entertainment for developers Sean Mulryan and Louis Scully, solicitor Paul Wallace and others at Annabel's Private Club in London.

* €7,000 paid for a two-night stay in Dublin's Westbury Hotel in February 2009 for Mr Fingleton and four others.

* €2,373 was claimed for a three-night stay in London's Dorchester Hotel in May 2009 for Mr Fingleton and his wife.

* Credit card expenses included for some €6,754 for the Hotel Marbella Club golf resort

DISMISSED

Various sums were claimed for hotels and restaurants in New York, Beverley Hills, Dubai, London, Marbella, Monaco, Moscow, St Petersburg, Scotland, Dublin and Wicklow.

Mr Fingleton also claimed expenses for membership of the K Club and trips with Private Chauffeurs Ireland.

The court also heard that had the true picture of INBS' affairs been disclosed, Mr Fingleton would have been summarily dismissed for breach of duty by 2007.

Former chairman Michael Walsh, and former directors Terence Cooney, Stan Purcell and David Brophy are also being sued. Their lawyers argued they were in a very different position from Mr Fingleton and the cases against them should be dealt with separately.

Irish Independent

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