Monday 11 December 2017

Emmet Oliver: Lenihan plays hardball as AIB's defence crumbles

Emmet Oliver

IT was a long time coming and there were several detours along the way, but finally Brian Lenihan has notched up a precious and rare victory over AIB, once the country's largest bank.

By blocking the bank from paying €40m of bonuses to thousands of staff, Lenihan has shown how fragile and powerless AIB has now become, as it tries to stave off nationalisation in the new year.

Since the financial crisis began, AIB has proven to be a wily and determined opponent for Lenihan. In late 2008, the bank told the Government it only needed €2bn of fresh capital despite its staggering property losses, but by February 2009 this had shot up to €3.5bn, causing a political firestorm for Lenihan and leaving his department looking dangerously out of touch.

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