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Saturday
Apr062013

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT


Ian Drennan

Director

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement,

16 Parnell Square,

DUBLIN 1



Dear Mr Drennan

In June 2011 - as you will know, since it was on your Office's application - the High Court ordered the disqualification of a former CEO of National Irish Bank ("NIB") from acting as a company director for 9 years. Other NIB senior personnel have also been disqualified. The basic reason was the bank's misconduct when directed/managed by the individuals in question - mainly its role in sophisticated tax-evasion schemes.

The loss to the State from these schemes was shocking at the time, but would barely raise an eyebrow today.

Nearly 5 years after nearly all of the State's banks were exposed as insolvent, no legal action has been taken against the vast majority of those who steered their companies from great wealth to multi-billion euro deficits, in the process doing cataclysmic damage to the finances of the State and of its citizens, as well as impoverishing many shareholders.

It is said, with justice as far as we can tell, that no crimes were committed. More questionably, it's said that no individual broke any term of his or her employment contract. It is even claimed - or at least implied - that not one bank director was in breach of his/her duties as a director even as they all managed their banks into insolvency and ruin.

The new managers and shareholders of the banks either share these remarkably benign views of the stewardship exercised by their predecessors or (more likely) assign a low priority to what they consider a mere "blame game".

However, in our view, this is not good enough. We are surprised that you appear to think that it is. Your office is responsible for ensuring that company directors, auditors and senior managers meet minimum standards of behaviour and probity. It is extraordinary to the point of scandal that there has been no visible action taken in this regard, and there is no indication of any intent to do so. This point has already been made to your Office privately, but you have felt unable to respond meaningfully. Your office has been a model of prompt and courteous communication, but we remain dissatisfied that nothing of substance has been said.

Your lack of visible action makes it difficult to avoid the conclusion that you are not going to do anything beyond what you have already in train in regard to Anglo. Our view is that those proceedings address relatively trivial matters and/or events which represent consequences rather than the causative failures of governance.


This letter is to formally request you, as a matter of urgency, to seek disqualification of every auditor, senior manager, and director (of relevant subsidiary companies, as well as main board members, and including shadow directors) of all banks licensed in the State. Again, it will be as obvious to you as it is to us, but some individuals will have little difficulty in showing that disqualification would not be appropriate for them. We suggest that it would serve the public interest for this to be confirmed, after full consideration, by you or by the High Court. It would also, arguably, be of benefit to the individuals in question. It would only be fair to allow those who performed their duties to the required standard to show the world that they did so.

We understand that protocols have to be followed. For example, in the case of NIB, Inspectors were appointed and your Office based its applications largely on the findings made by the Inspectors. Whether the same needs to be done for - to name but one - AIB plc, given the comprehensive reports already in the public domain and others apparently available to current management, is questionable, but if it does need doing, it is long overdue.

Yours sincerely


Fergus O’Rourke, Lawyer & former banker

Karl Deeter, Irish Mortgage Brokers

Michael Hennigan, FinFacts

Seamus Carrick, F.C.C.A., Trinity Accountants

James Lee, solicitor

Eoghan O'Leary, company owner

Declan O'Toole, solicitor

Brian Lucey, TCD

Constantin Gurdgiev, TCD

Arthur Doohan, Consultant

Gerard Sheehy Financial Adviser

Kealan Flynn, Public Affairs Adviser

Deirdre de Burca, former Senator

Danny Keohane FRIDE, Brussels

Colm Fitzgerald, actuary

Dermot Conway, solicitor

David Hall, Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation

Brian Kelly,Independent I.T. Consultant

Michael Logan, Businessman

Brendan K. O'Rourke, Dublin Institute of Technology

Michael O'Neill Architectural Graduate

Cathal Malone, Barrister-at-law

Dermot Casey, Lecturer, UCD

Tom Baldwin,solicitor

Kate Bopp, Co-founder, N.G.O.

Declan Flynn, Kilternan

David O'Brien, Monkstown

Caitriona Warfield,Saggart

John Agger, Cobh

Dermot Kenny, Small business manager

Cathy Dalton Architect,researcher, lecturer

Joe Cunnane F.C.A. Accountant & Tax Advisor

Anne Hesnan, County Meath

Morgan C. Jones Actor

Nessa Childers, Member of the European Parliament

Andy Moore, Dalkey

T. J. Greene, Monkstown

Yvonne Sugrue County Kerry

David McCarthy, Clondalkin

Fiona Hanley, Art Director

Sarah Carey, Broadcaster & columnist

Denis Hinsley, County Clare

Ellie Hinsley, County Clare

( Your name will be added here if you so request in a comment below )

Copy sent to each T.D. and Senator

PDF version of the Open Letter here and of a legal background note here




Reader Comments (41)

this has to be looked at
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdavid keeley
Some hangin's are required
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Roche
I agree with this letter
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Kelly
This is a good letter and seeks to do "something" given the lack of ANY action in this area.However ,as I understand it you can't take away someone's livelihood without a higher level of proof than is suggested .It is great to see this initiative ,perhaps a similar approach could b.e taken towards the senior politicians and Secretaries General who were also somewhat responsible . A further call for the Government to set up,some form of "follow the money " approach is also well over due so,as to establish where all the losses this country suffered have gone and who has benefitted .
Congrats on this initiative
April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Morris
Completely agree with this, well done.
April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAoife Ní Chionnaith
@Martin Morris

1. As to deprivation of livelihood, this consideration certainly is recognised by the Court when deciding on such applications. Where the evidence justifies it, that consideration need not overwhelm the need to adequately mark the wrongdoing or (more relevant in the banking context IMHO) disastrous failure of stewardship. However, disqualification from acting as a director still leaves a lot of scope to earn a livelihood. And of course many of those affected may not need to earn a livelihood.

2. I am not an expert on the law governing the legal duties of civil servants, but I doubt that similar provisions can be found there. I am certain that politicians cannot be pursued in this way. Nor do I believe, in any event, that the failures of either of those groups are comparable to those of the people who ran the banks. It was their function to be alert to the factors which could "sink" them. None of the things that did sink them was unpredictable or new to the industry. Indeed, they were the same things that led to every bank failure in history. And the worst was the lending http://bit.ly/geNTLz
April 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterFergus O'Rourke
Yes the questions must be answered, shareholders wiped out . A tsunamai of Legal Actions coming as in the RBS case.
April 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermyles mchugh
Excellent Letter, deserving of a valid response and follow up action
April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGerry Corbett
I agree and support this letter.
April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Logan
Good letter. Please feel free to add my name to the attached.
April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan K. O'Rourke
I wish to express my appreciation and support for the writers of and signatories to this letter. Please pursue this matter with vigour and keep us advised as to your correspondence and progress.

Judging from Michael McDowells recent piece about the Lowry tapes, the reluctance to pursue questions of this nature is not confined to the ODCE, but blights the so-called "free press" and the state broadcaster as well.

We have not been well served by those whose jobs it is to look after The Public Good, whether in the Press, High Office or the Civil Service. To be blunt about it, if they are too stupid, cowardly or incompetent to do their jobs, let them resign and others will take their place - and at a fraction of the cost!
April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael O'Neill
Could not agree more.

Why bring in these laws and then ignore them in the face of blatant disregard and contempt?
April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Smith, BL
It is a damn disgrace that the actions suggested in this letter have not been undertaken before now.
April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDes Deasy
I agree with this letter
April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim Hanly, DIT
You can add my name to that.
April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDermot Casey
I agree
April 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpeter byrne
I wholeheartedly agree with every word said, except that Bank of Ireland should also be on that list, and every other bank. We need to leave the Euro and take back control of our money supply from private bankers who are making a killing off us.

For more information about corrupt politics and law, check out the "Common Law" category and "Politics" category on the left menu at www.theopensource.tv !

Watch the documentary The Secret Of Oz which explains exactly how banks create money out of debt, lend it to governments at interest, when all along we have always had the power to create our own money, debt free. It's that simple. Yet we've given away our power to print money to private international bankers who screw countries over every 20 years or so of this so called 'Business Cycle' which is nothing more than fraud, greed, selfishness and manipulation by private bankers.
Fixing the Libor rates in the UK, MF Global stealing money out of depositors accounts like Gerald Celente who had $800,000 taken from his account. And now the stealing of depositors accounts in Cyprus.
We all must be asleep to be still going along with this Global takeover which has been happening for years now in South America, Indonesia, Panama, Equador etc. and is now happening here. Well look how far doing nothing about those countries has got us, we were always going to be next... Read John Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" for more about that.
April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGerry
Well done Fergus
April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Hesnan
I agree with your letter Fergus. You can add my name.
April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom Baldwin
I endorse the sentiment in this letter & gladly add my name.
April 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate Bopp

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