AIB executives 'acted in clandestine manner', court told

Several former senior executives with an AIB subsidiary acted in "a deliberate, clandestine and unlawful manner" by secretly scheming to take over its international financial services business, the High Court has heard.

Several former senior executives with an AIB subsidiary acted in "a deliberate, clandestine and unlawful manner" by secretly scheming to take over its international financial services business, the High Court has heard.

AIB claims the executives were behind a management buyout offer for AIB International Financial Services (IFS). When AIB decided last June to sell the business to another group, Capita, the six along with a rival business tried to take over the clients, business and staff of IFS, the bank alleges.

The six are: Pat Diamond, Elton Park, Sandycove in Dublin; Aidan Foley, formerly of Grawn, Kilmacthomas in Wexford; Gerry McEvoy, formerly of Shandon Park, Phibsboro in Dublin; Derek O'Reilly of Fernleigh Drive, Castleknock, Dublin; Andrew O'Shea, formerly of Ashbrook House, Julianstown, Co Meath; and Joe Walsh, formerly of Grosvenor Terrace, Monkstown in Co Dublin.

AIB has also brought proceedings against a number of financial services companies - Centralis SA based in Luxembourg, Centralis Switzerland and Centralis Hungary, which AIB claims were also involved in the plan.

The defendants deny AIB's claims and have denied any wrongdoing. The defendants further claims AIB's actions are preventing the corporate defendants from competing against IFS.

AIB claims, after 25 directors and employees left IFS between June and August, Capita had reduced from €55m to €33m its offer for IFS. It claims the defendants' alleged actions led to it incurring significant loss and damage.

Last month, AIB secured a temporary injunction requiring the defendants to preserve documents and computer records.

Today, the bank commenced its application to have a number of injunctions against the defendants remain in place until the full hearing of the action is determined.

The injunctions are aimed at preventing the defendants from using IFS's information and from approaching their clients.

Today, Michael McDowell SC for AIB said AIB had brought proceedings aimed at preventing the defendants from using IFS's information against it, and from going near IFS's clients for a significant period of time.

Counsel said AIB's action was not about preventing a rival company from competing against it, or being unhappy that several of its employees had left to work for a competitor.

Counsel further told the court the defendants had engaged in a "carefully contrived" plan to bring IFS's clients to the Centralis companies, while they remained employed with the bank.

They had, counsel added, put into action their plan after their proposed management buyout had not been sucessful with their "eyes wide open."

This, counsel added, was a flagrant breach of the "fiduciary duty" owed by the personal defendants to their then empoyers AIB.

The hearing, before Mr Justice Frank Clarke continues.

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