Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes raises 'really serious' AIB claims with ECB

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said he has raised directly with the ECB the “really serious” claims made by an AIB whistleblower who alleges the bank misled regulators in its dealings with loans in arrears.

The unnamed whistleblower last week used the whistleblowing system to alert the Single Supervisory Mechanism, or SSM – the ECB’s new regulator of lenders across the eurozone.

The claims were first reported by RTÉ.

Yesterday, Mr Hayes -- who sits on the European Parliament’s key Econ Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs – said he had submitted a formal query to the ECB’s SSM because the complaint raised “serious” issues about the workings of Europe’s new oversight system.

The SSM was set up to prevent any repeat of the events that led to the banking collapse, and “any assertion that a bank did not accurately report on the status of its loan book cannot be taken lightly”, the MEP said.

He said the SSM should clarify what it intends to do with the complaint because it was its responsibility and it should not try “to wash its hands” of the claims.

After the financial collapse in Ireland and in Europe, the SSM needs to act “transparently” and get to the bottom of the claims, he said.

The MEP said that the case needed to be investigated at a European level.

The claims were “significant” for all banks because of the many billions of euro that the State had injected to save the lenders during the crash, he said.

Eugene McErlean – an authority on the banking industry and corporate governance -- told the Irish Examiner last week that because of the confidentiality surrounding the whistleblowing system that it was impossible to assess the veracity of the claims but that the case raised concerns that went beyond any single lender.

The ECB, the Central Bank and AIB declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

It is believed the ECB has not yet received Mr Hayes’ correspondence but plans to reply in writing once the letter has been received.


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