Over 40 whistleblowers have reported concerns about irregularities in financial institutions to the Central Bank already this year.
New figures provided by Finance Minister Michael Noonan show a surge in the number of individuals making protected disclosures to the banking regulator.
Mr Noonan said over 40 reports from whistleblowers have been received by the Central Bank this year compared to the 50 recorded in all of 2016. Since new protection for persons making protected disclosures to the Central Bank came into force in August 2013, almost 200 whistleblowers have come forward with their concerns. The legislation also introduced new obligations on certain categories of officials in regulated firms to disclose breaches of financial services legislation to the Central Bank.
Individuals who make protected disclosures benefit from a range of employment and other protections should they be penalised by their employer or suffer any detriment as a result of making a disclosure. In response to a parliamentary question, Mr Noonan said the Central Bank was examining 50 whistleblower allegations.
The Central Bank said it considered the receipt of information from whisteblowers as an important supervisory tool. Mr Noonan said the bank did not provide information on the number of penalties it had issued as a result of information received from whistleblowers.
Last year, the Central Bank imposed fines of over €12m on financial institutions. Since 2006, 108 settlement agreements have been reached with banks and other financial institutions for regulatory breaches with fines of about €57m. In some cases however, investigations could not be taken further as the bank was unable to contact the source of anonymous reports.
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