One of the questions that arose after the abrupt departure of the CEO of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Mike Aynsley three weeks ago, was whether he was precluded from acting for potential buyers of IBRC assets, or indeed if Mike was free to pen his memoirs of his hectic time at the helm of first Anglo, and then IBRC, after Anglo was merged with Irish Nationwide Building Society. In the Dail this week, we got some answers.
It seems that although Mike was subject to confidentiality restraints whilst at IBRC, it will only be the Ethics in Public Office Acts and “common law” which restrains him now that he has been set free. You are unlikely to find many cases coming before Irish courts under either of these headings, but these restraints are supposed to stop him using confidential information to the detriment of IBRC and to stop him being conferred with an unfair advantage in a new appointment, by virtue of for example, access to official information he previously enjoyed.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan was responding to parliamentary questions from the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty. Although Minister Noonan was directly asked if Mike was precluded from advising potential buyers of IBRC assets, there was no direct response.
There would appear to be no restraint on Mike from publishing his memoirs of his time whilst at Anglo and IBRC, as long as he didn’t use confidential information. It remains unclear if Mike can advise buyers of IBRC assets in a way which is not to the detriment of IBRC, although the tenor of the Minister’s response is that if he uses privileged information to gain any personal advantage, he will be in breach of the provisions of the Ethics in Public Office Acts, presumably the main Act being the 1995 Act here.
The full parliamentary questions and responses are here:
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance if he will outline any restrictions on activities of the former chief executive officer of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation during the period of the IBRC liquidation.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance if the former chief executive officer of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation is precluded from advising potential buyers of IBRC assets during the period of the IBRC liquidation.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance the confidentiality restraints that apply to the former chief executive officer of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation..
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I propose to answer questions 195, 196 and 197 together.
The special liquidators have confirmed that there are restrictive covenants and confidentiality provisions included in the employment contract of the former CEO of IBRC. The special liquidators have confirmed that the former CEO owes a common law duty of confidentiality that continues following the termination of his employment with IBRC, such that he is restricted from using confidential information obtained during the course of his employment to the detriment of IBRC
In addition Ethic in Public Office Acts applies to former executives and other office holders in the IBRC including the former CEO. This Act requires that former office holders should act in a way which ensures an unfair advantage would not be conferred in a new appointment, by virtue of for example, access to official information the office holder previously enjoyed.