Regulator: Claims 'without foundation'

The Financial Regulator today rejected claims by a former internal auditor with AIB that the Regulator know about over-charging in the bank as far back as 2001.

The Financial Regulator today rejected claims by a former internal auditor with AIB that the Regulator know about over-charging in the bank as far back as 2001.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Regulator said it that published a detailed report in December 2004 into foreign exchange and other charging issues at AIB following a full investigation into these matters.

"In that report it is stated clearly that the Financial Regulator became aware of these matters in April of 2004," the statement said.

"Any allegations, such as those made at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs today, that the Financial Regulator would have withheld information relevant to its 2004 Report are completely without foundation."

"Entirely separate and unrelated instances of overcharging by AIB to those covered in the 2004 Report were reported to and known to the Central Bank (the then banking regulator) in 2001."

The statement said that these matters were examined and AIB were instructed to report to the relevant authorities.

"AIB's internal audit function informed the Central Bank at the end of 2002 that all necessary repayments had been made to customers," the statement added, adding that the Financial Regulator would be writing to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on these matters.

Former AIB auditor Eugene McErlean had earlier told the committee that bank customers had been overcharged by more than €65m in the early part of this century, but the issue had not been investigated fully at the time.

He said there appeared to be a cosy relationship between the regulators and the bank.

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