IBRC begins legal action against Fingleton

The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) has launched legal proceedings against former Irish Nationwide Building Society boss Michael Fingleton.

The asset recovery body overseeing the wind-down of both Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank said yesterday it was filing legal documents — via a protective plenary summons — to the High Court, with the approval of Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

The significance of yesterday’s date for the filing is to avoid the statute of limitations — which sets a six-year maximum timeframe after an event for legal proceedings to be started — naturally blocking such a move.

Legal action is being taken against Mr Fingleton and four other former Irish Nationwide directors: ex-chairman Michael Walsh, Terence J Cooney, David Brophy, Cornelius P Power, and John S Purcell.

While the IBRC’s current management said it was not “holding its breath” over the repayment of Mr Fingleton’s €1m bonus, dating to 2008, and various expenses, it said it was required to pursue individuals believed to have breached various regulatory and contractual obligations. Neither the IBRC nor Department of Finance would comment further.

However, it is thought that the legal action could relate to breaches of fiduciary duties, duty of care and contract. Mr Fingleton promised to pay the bonus money back but has not.

The banker also has an €11,500 watch received as a retirement gift and charged expenses to the bust building society.

Meanwhile, the IBRC yesterday reported a pre-tax loss of €873m, for 2011. Although healthier than Anglo’s record €17.7bn loss the previous year, the figure took in net impairment charges of €1.64bn, a €426m loss on certain disposals and a further €214m loss on the transfer of Anglo’s Irish and British deposits to AIB and Nama. Before impairment provisions and disposal losses, the IBRC actually turned an operating profit of €620m.

IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley said that 2011 had been a period of “significant change and welcome progress” for the business.

“Since the completion of the merger with Irish Nationwide, the combined entity has now been re-shaped into a fully integrated, fit for purpose, asset recovery organisation trading as IBRC. The primary focus continues to be the deleveraging of the lending portfolio, while maximising the return for the taxpayer,” he added.

Mr Aynsley said that he still expects the total bailout costs regarding Anglo Irish Bank to amount to between €25bn and €28bn.


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