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Thursday 22 March 2018

Noonan demands 'full story' from Anglo on bonuses


A furious Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said he ordered the inquiry from Anglo Irish Bank to get the "full picture" on bonuses and salary top-ups in banks owned or being supported by the taxpayer.

Anglo Irish Bank is urgently preparing a report for Mr Noonan on deferred bonus payments after serious discrepancies in the figures it provided to his department came to light. Last night, senior sources indicated that the amount paid out to staff was closer to the €1m mark than the €273,787 figure given last year, and the sheer size of the discrepancy caused deep anger and annoyance within Mr Noonan's department.

Senior officials in the Department of Finance are to meet with senior managers from the bank this week to decide what form this inquiry will take.

Last week, Mr Noonan raised concerns after Anglo disclosed a higher sum for the department's response to a parliamentary question tabled by Fianna Fail TD Michael McGrath.

Speaking yesterday to the Sunday Independent, Mr Noonan said he wanted to ensure that never again would the Government "fall down the trap" of not having the full story when it came to bankers' remuneration.

"Often if you ask the question were bonuses paid you'd get the answer no. But you'd subsequently find other forms of top-up payments were made," he told the Sunday Independent

"What I want is a total picture, of everything, so there is nothing left out."

"We don't know exactly what the number is, so that is why the meeting is happening," Mr Noonan's spokesman said.

Mr McGrath said yesterday that he fully supported Mr Noonan's attempts to get total clarity on the issue of bonuses.

"It is totally unacceptable that a bank, which has cost the taxpayer €30bn at least, would provide inaccurate information. We need all the facts and we must ensure this doesn't happen again."

On Friday night, Mr Noonan said he was concerned that information just supplied by Anglo to his department did not accord with material given to his predecessor, Brian Lenihan, for a parliamentary question published on December 16, 2010.

"I have requested an urgent report from the bank, which will provide full and accurate information and an explanation of why this was not forthcoming in December," he said.

Yesterday, Mr Noonan said he couldn't say whether there was a deliberate attempt to mislead or conceal information from the Government, but would await the report from Anglo.

Sunday Independent

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