TWO former senior managers with National Irish Bank have been disqualified from involvement in the management of a company on grounds of unfitness arising from the investigation into the 1990s tax evasion scandal.
At the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy ruled that Patrick Byrne, St Helen’s Road, Booterstown, Co Dublin, and Michael Keane, Corr Castle, Howth, Co Dublin, were part of senior management within NIB and National Irish Bank Financial Services responsible for certain serious findings of improper practices.
However, Mr Justice Murphy did not make any disqualification order against another former senior manager, Dermot Boner, the bank’s chief manager of retail during the early to mid nineties.
The judge was delivering his reserved judgments granting an application by the Director of Corporate Enforcement for a disqualification order. He will hear submissions on June 13 next before deciding the length of Keane and Byrne’s disqualification.
The two men become the fourth and fifth senior NIB officials to be disqualified arising from the inspectors’ report.
Previously Frank Brennan was disqualified for six years; Nigel D’Arcy consented to being disqualified for ten years and Barry Seymour, former executive director, was disqualified for nine years. Disqualification proceedings are also pending against former chief executive Jim Lacey.
Mr Justice Murphy found that Byrne, NIB’s head of finance and strategy from 1994-98, “displayed a lack of commercial probity,” in regards to the discharge of his responsibilities to both the company and its creditors.
He disqualified Keane, former general manager of banking, as his conduct made him unfit to be concerned in the management of a company.
The judge was not satisfied that Mr Boner’s conduct would justify making an order to disqualify him. It seemed to the court that “on balance” Mr Boner had attempted to address problems such as the improper charging of fees.
The applications arose from the investigation into the affairs of NIB and NIBFS between the late 1980’s and 90’s. Inspectors concluded in 2004 that NIB and NIBFS were involved in a number of improper practices and a number of senior managers bore responsibility for these. They failed to deal with bogus non-resident accounts, improper interest charges and CMI policies.
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