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Tuesday 16 July 2019

New bank chief criticised over hacking allegations

Gabriel Makhlouf. Photo: Bloomberg
Gabriel Makhlouf. Photo: Bloomberg

Patrice Lafarge

New Zealand has criticised the incoming Central Bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf for his handling of an alleged 'hacking' of the country's budget while he was treasury secretary there.

But the New Zealand State Services Commission said Mr Makhlouf's actions fell short of a sackable offence.

The report was released late last night. Mr Makhlouf caused alarm in May by claiming his department had been "deliberately and systemically hacked".

It later emerged that the material was accessed using a search tool on the Treasury website.

The report said Mr Makhlouf acted in good faith, reasonably, and there was no evidence that he deliberately misled his Finance Minister.

His decision to refer the matter to police also showed no evidence of political influence.

However, the State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes concluded that Mr Makhlouf's handling of the alleged hacking saga "fell well short" of his expectations.

He said Mr Makhlouf "did not act responsibly" in using the phrase "deliberate and systematically hacked" in his statement about the matter.

"The right thing to do here was to take personal responsibility for the failure, irrespective of the actions of others and to do so publicly. He did not do that," Mr Hughes said.

Irish Independent

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