Watchdog’s investigation ‘ongoing’

THE Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement said yesterday that its investigation into management issues at Anglo Irish Bank — which began late last year — is “ongoing”, but declined to comment on whether the probe had been extended to include other financial institutions.

A spokesperson for the office said: “Our remit covers the entirety of Company Law and covers any breach of company law.”

They said that the investigation was ongoing and could give no indication as to how near it is to completion; nor could they say if it has been widened since the office initially received information from the Financial Regulator regarding directors’ loan dealings at Anglo, before Christmas.

If it judges that serious breaches of Company Law have occurred, it can take a criminal prosecution at district court level or prepare a book of evidence for the Director of Public Prosecutions. It can also take civil action aimed at disqualifying company directors.

The director also had powers to seek the restriction and disqualification of individuals from acting as directors and other officers of limited companies.

Similar investigations into Anglo Irish are being carried out by the Irish Stock Exchange and the Financial Regulator.

Separately, the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board said this week that it is close to appointing a special examiner to oversee its investigation into Ernst & Young — the accountancy giant which acts as Anglo’s chief auditor.

Meanwhile, as well as calling for the wholesale sacking by government of the board of the Financial Regulator, small firms’ lobby group ISME has claimed that the Irish banks should all adopt parallel financial years — giving them the same completion dates, which it said would stop the “temptation of a deposit carousel”.

More in this section