Laughing all the way to the bank indeed

The Central Bank warning that there are no meaningful consequences for individuals or organisations that deliberately provide inaccurate, misleading information to regulators is an indictment of our legislature and shows why our economy collapsed so very spectacularly.

It is another indication that this is one of the best little countries in the world to carry out white-collar crime. It also points out the kind of anomaly, the kind of loophole that this Government was elected to close.

The warning focuses on such a blatant weakness in our financial legislation that it would not be hard to believe that the legislation was designed by those it was intended to police. It is not as if the poacher had to turn gamekeeper; they could remain a poacher because they might have been writing the rules. The Central Bank is obliged to police the financial sector, a responsibility utterly dependent on having accurate information, but, as former governor Patrick Honohan pointed out to Finance Minister Michael Noonan last August, very little happens when those giving information lie. Mr Honohan said the bank had been provided with “false or misleading information” to cover “serious shortcomings or inadequacies”, but there were “no legal consequences”. Public outrage at the role of financial institutions in our great difficulties has not been matched by sanctions imposed on those who behaved so very badly, and it seems, dishonestly. Laughing all the way to the bank indeed.


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