On 3rd December 2012, Donal O’Donovan in the Irish Independent reported that IBRC – which was formerly Anglo and Irish Nationwide – asked one of its borrowers to withdraw a complaint against its auditors Ernst and Young. This request was apparently made in the context of the borrower negotiating the repayment of loans of €20m. The borrower in question was Johnny Moran, who has developed hotels and property in Dublin city centre. The Independent went on to report that Johnny had made the complaint in April 2012 to the accountants’ regulatory body, the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Body. The full complaint doesn’t appear to be available but the Independent reported it “included” a charge that there was a conflict of interest in Ernst and Young who had acted for IBRC and might not be impartial in their role as receiver to his businesses. The Independent didn’t report if Johnny had in fact withdrawn the complaint.
The matter was curious in itself but became even curiouser when IBRC decided to sue Ernst and Young in November 2012 – finance minister, Michael Noonan was asked to provide and outline of that case yesterday and you can read his response here. On one hand, you have IBRC suing Ernst and Young but on the other, you have IBRC trying to stop one of its borrowers pursuing a complaint against the same company.
What is going on?
Yesterday in the Dail, the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty asked the Minister Noonan about the matter, and why IBRC would act in such a manner either specifically in relation to Johnny Moran or, if that was too touchy a subject, why in general the bank would behave like that. And the response was…..duckegg (again!). Minister Noonan said the information contained in Donal’s report in the Independent was “privileged” and Minister Noonan wasn’t saying anything because the matter was sub-judice. However, he wouldn’t respond to the question as to why, generally, IBRC would behave in such a curious manner.
The full parliamentary question and response are here.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance further to a newspaper report that the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation requested a borrower to withdraw a complaint by the borrower against a company (details supplied) the reason IBRC would specifically or in general adopt such an approach to one of its borrowers..
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan : I have been informed that it should be noted that the newspaper article in question published details of privileged information and the Bank has not waived the privilege attaching to that information. These matters are the subject of on-going litigation and it is not appropriate for the Minister to make any comment.