Smurfit, Gannon’s daughter on Fingleton gift list

Former building society chief used mutual’s funds to pay for gifts and fine living

Michael Fingleton spent €3,255 on a present for businessman Michael Smurfit from a liquor store and claimed the money as an expense against Irish Nationwide.

The gift, sourced in St Barthelemy in the Caribbean, is just one of a list of expenses inappropriately incurred by the former building society chief in his time at the helm of Irish Nationwide, the special liquidator of IBRC told the Commercial Court yesterday. It is suing Mr Fingleton and other directors of the society over “catastrophic losses” at the society.

On a separate occasion Mr Fingleton spent €1,000 of the society's funds for a Brown Thomas gift token for the daughter of developer Gerry Gannon.

He also claimed €4,000 for entertaining developers Seán Mulryan and Louis Scully, solicitor Paul Wallace and others at Annabel's private club in London. Mr Smurfit and Mr Mulryan also feature on an expense claim of €2,086 for a six-night trip to Dubai, alongside estate agent Arthur French.


The claims being challenged by the special liquidator at IBRC, into which Irish Nationwide was merged in 2010, point to the former building society chief’s globe-trotting lifestyle.

They include hotel and restaurant bills in New York, Beverley Hills, Dubai, London, Marbella, Monaco, Moscow, St Petersburg, Scotland, Dublin and Wicklow. Among the venues were the Waldorf Astoria and New York’s 21 Club, and Patrick Guilbaud’s in Dublin.

Another claim, for €6,000, relates to a Gucci watch bought with society funds at auction by Mr Fingleton in 2006. He later re-auctioned the watch, with the funds going to the Jack & Jill Foundation.

Separate bills point to a sum of €4,525 paid to New York jeweller Maurice Columbus and €8,000 to a jeweller in the Caribbean. Other services billed to the society he led included bills for flights, private chauffeur services and golf.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times