Monday 14 October 2019

Watchdog wants answers on why Anglo wind-up is still costing €100k a day

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The Finance Minister is facing renewed calls to introduce independent oversight of the spiralling "€100,000-a-day" costs of winding up the former Anglo Irish Bank.

The liquidation of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is expected to cost up to €306m by 2022, according to the latest figures published by Paschal Donohoe last week.

Fees of more than €247m have been paid to professional and legal advisers in the five years since KPMG's special liquidators were appointed, with the accountancy firm earning €149.4m in that period.

Mr Donohoe has been accused in High Court papers of failing to have proper oversight over the fees, in a legal action taken by debt advocate David Hall.

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee is also understood to be renewing efforts to examine the spiralling costs.

The committee's previous attempts to question the special liquidators over their fees last December were scuppered by Mr Hall, who began legal action on the costs of the wind-up days before they were due to appear before the committee. Liquidators Kieran Wallace and Eamon Richardson both pulled out of the hearing citing legal advice.

It is understood that Mr Hall has been asked to consider dropping his legal action against the Finance Minister and others, which would remove the legal obstacle the special liquidators say prevents them from answering questions.

In his statement of claim lodged in April, Mr Hall alleges that Mr Donohoe failed to properly and/or effectively set, analyse, assess and/or monitor the fees charged by the joint special liquidators.

He alleges that the rates charged were "not sufficiently considered" and were "not properly revisited despite the size of the liquidation and amount of remuneration being paid to the special liquidators".

Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry said the Comptroller and Auditor General should have oversight of the liquidation costs.

"The bottom line is that whether they are doing the best job possible or not, this is the priciest liquidation in the history of the State involving taxpayers' money," he said.

The special liquidators have said the liquidation of IBRC should be substantially completed by the end of 2022.

The Department of Finance said it could not comment on the costs and oversight given ongoing litigation. "There is a substantial amount of detailed information in the published report around the activities of the special liquidation and the costs incurred. The department will vigorously defend the proceedings," it said in a statement.

Sunday Independent

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