Ex-IBRC chair criticises Noonan’s banking inquiry evidence

Alan Dukes says Minister’s comments were an ‘inaccurate interpretation’ of events

Former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes. Mr Dukes has criticised Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s evidence at the banking inquiry. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes. Mr Dukes has criticised Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s evidence at the banking inquiry. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The former chairman of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) Alan Dukes has criticised comments made to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry last month by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan about the way the bank was run, in additional written evidence.

Mr Dukes has characterised the Minister’s evidence as an “inaccurate interpretation” of events at the bank leading up to its liquidation in February 2013 and accused him of being consistently “negative” in his public utterances about the institution.

Mr Dukes said that there was an “unjustified hostility or a plain lack of comprehension” on the part of officials in the Department of Finance about the “challenging task” that faced the bank’s executives in winding down the IBRC, which was an amalgam of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

In his evidence to the inquiry, former IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley had said that a department official had claimed that the Minister would prefer that IBRC realise €100 million less for an asset rather than sell it to a named individual.

Mr Aynsley did not name the person involved.

When questioned about this, Mr Noonan told the inquiry that he didn’t know what Mr Aynsley was talking about.

US loans

Mr Dukes also defended the sale of the bank’s US loan book in 2011.

He said the IBRC had agreed to a request from the department for the sale to be conducted in a series of portfolios to accelerate the process and reduce the bank’s reliance on emergency liquidity funding from the European Central Bank.

However, there was a disagreement between the two sides over the “governance procedures” put in place for the sale.

“The department wanted a lighter system but we insisted on an additional layer of oversight to protect the bank against possible conflicts of interest,” Mr Dukes said.

Mr Dukes said that about €1 billion of loans fell out of the sale process for various reasons, but subsequent deals for these loans were “superior in terms of their ratio to the original face values”.

The inquiry has redacted a portion of Mr Dukes’s Section 25 statement following a meeting of the 11-person Oireachtas committee.

It is understood that the committee decided to forward the redacted material to the Commission of Investigation into IBRC, which was set up by the Government earlier this year to investigate certain transactions involving the bank