Trichet to co-operate with bank probe

The former head of the ECB has indicated he will co-operate with the banking inquiry but stopped short of committing to attend the probe’s hearings in Leinster House.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Oireachtas inquiry, by letter, that former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet had confirmed his availability to give information to the committee’s investigations indirectly.

Mr Kenny said Mr Trichet had stated that he was prevented, for legal reasons, from going before a national parliament inquiry.

However, Mr Trichet said he could answer questions from Irish MEPs in Brussels or through a third party or institution in Dublin, the inquiry was told.

TDs want the ECB to answer questions about what role or influence it had in the run-up to Ireland guaranteeing the banks in 2008. A more pressing matter is its desire to probe claims the Frankfurt-based bank bounced Ireland into having to agree to a financial bailout programme two years later.

Mr Trichet and the ECB had previously told the banking inquiry it would not co-operate with the probe.

Responding to Mr Kenny’s letter, banking inquiry chairman Ciaran Lynch said it was positive news. “This is quite significant. In December, it was a closed door.

“The issue is, what’s the prize? It is that [the ECB] are now engaging with us and will give us information.”

Committee members including Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty and Fine Gael’s John Paul Phelan want clarity as to why there is a legal block on Mr Trichet coming into Leinster House.

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