Ex-boss Fingleton ‘unavailable’ for latest INBS hearing

Let your fingers do the walking!!!!!  Seems unlikely we will ever hear oral evidence from this man!!!!

Michael Fingleton, the long-serving boss of the now defunct Irish Nationwide Building Society, failed to appear at the latest hearing of a Central Bank inquiry set up to examine the actions of senior management prior to the organisation’s collapse in 2010.

Mr Fingleton, who is nearly 80 and ran INBS for 38 years, informed the inquiry he was “unavailable” until after October 5. Another two of the five executives under investigation by the regulator, Tom McMenamin, a former commercial lending manager, and Gary McCollum, who once headed the society’s UK lending from a base in Belfast, also failed to attend yesterday’s meeting.

The executives were contacted by the Central Bank’s regulatory decisions unit (RDU), which provides administrative support to the inquiry, in July.

The inquiry has received no responses from Mr McMenamin or Mr McCollum.

INBS’s former chairman Michael Walsh was represented at the hearing by his legal counsel, and the lender’s ex-finance director John Stanley Purcell – who is representing himself – attended the brief hearing.

While this latest public hearing was entirely procedural, the inquiry’s chairwoman, Marian Shanley, confirmed the schedule for the first phase of the investigation, which centres on the alleged breaches by INBS’s credit committee.

The building society, which grew rapidly in the 1990s and 2000s and lent extensively to a number of property developers, was scuppered in the financial crisis. Its demise cost the taxpayer €5.4bn.

On December 11, INBS’s former directors, aside from Mr McMenamin, who was not part of the lender’s credit committee, will be invited to offer an opening statement to the three-member panel conducting the inquiry.

In January the inquiry will then hear from more than 20 witnesses as the regulator examines whether former executives participated in the commission of “suspected prescribed contraventions” – leaving each director open to a possible €500,000 fine.

The former management team may also be forced to pay the inquiry’s costs, estimated to run into many millions.

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