Dukes and Aynsley seek departmental files on them as IBRC row intensifies

Former IBRC chairman rejects criticism in documents over perceived excessive pay

Former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes at the  press conference he organised to discuss the sale of Siteserv. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes at the press conference he organised to discuss the sale of Siteserv. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Two former senior directors at the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Alan Dukes and Mike Aynsley, who were criticised by Department of Finance officials in documents released this week, have sought all the department’s files regarding them.

Mr Dukes, IBRC’s former chairman, told a press conference he organised to discuss the sale of Siteserv that he had also called Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on Wednesday to complain to him about the documents that addressed issues, including Siteserv and its IBRC-supervised sale to a company controlled by Denis O’Brien, which were released under freedom of information.

“I spoke to the Minister briefly on April 21st,” Mr Dukes said. “I phoned him to say I was extremely concerned. I said I would be asking for unredacted versions of all the documents that had been released.”

Mr Dukes touched on issues including Siteserv, IBRC’s testy relationship with the department and an upcoming review into IBRC by KPMG.

He insisted that the bank had kept the department updated on the Siteserv transaction “at all times”. “There were regular reports [on the sale process] from Siteserv to the board, the chief risk officer and the credit committee,” said Mr Dukes.

“Siteserv was discussed at regular board meetings involving the Department of Finance so they could be kept updated.

In relation to the criticism of Mr Aynsley’s performance, Mr Dukes said: “I had no doubts whatsoever about his performance. He always took the best course of action for the bank.”

He also rejected criticism in the departmental documents over what the department perceived as excessive pay at IBRC.

Mr Dukes said its staff were being poached by the pillar banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland. “We were training people up for other banks and Nama. I think our pay scales actually compared unfavourably.”

He also addressed the apparently difficult relationship that endured between himself and John Moran, the since- departed secretary general of the department.

Mr Dukes described one disagreement he had with Mr Moran over appointing directors to the bank. “He seemed to think that all he had to do was tell the Central Bank who he wanted. I told him there was a process to be gone through.

“He thought I was being obstructionist.”

On the controversy surrounding a €5 million payment to Siteserv shareholders from proceeds of Mr O’Brien’s successful bid, Mr Dukes said he “knew it would be controversial”.

“The board had quite a discussion about it and we didn’t like it, but Walter Hobbs [IBRC’s representative on the sale process] told us it was this deal or nothing,” he said.

He gave a detailed account of the breakdown in relations that occurred between the bank and the department during 2012.

Mr Dukes outlined seven areas of concern that had been indicated to him would be covered by the KPMG review.

He said the issues included the sale of IBRC’s wealth management division and also the bank’s relationship with the Quinn family.

In addition to Siteserv, other issues Mr Dukes said would be covered included the sale of a US apartment block, the bank’s relationship with adviser Blackstone and dealings on Topaz, now owned by Mr O’Brien.

Mr Dukes insisted that the Siteserv deal with Mr O’Brien’s Millington, which included a €5 million payment to shareholders of the bust company, was the best available. “I am confident nothing untoward will be found. The fact that the loss to the State on IBRC has been lower than some suggested it would shows we didn’t do such a bad job,” said Mr Dukes.