We sat back and watched Fingleton hijack Nationwide, and John McManus wonders why he is now left in peace while we pay the bills.
We sat back and watched Fingleton hijack Nationwide - The Irish Times - Mon, Apr 19, 2010
toxic avenger on p.ie has been trying to breathe life into one clear political manoeuvre nodded through the Oireachtas and solely benefitting Fingleton's operation here -what little light has been shone on the inner workings of Irish Nationwide to date only confirms this picture, with Fingleton acting as a one-man credit committee and fast-tracking loans for politically connected clients, including Celia Larkin and Charlie McCreevy.
The truly baffling thing about what happened at Irish Nationwide was that it pretty much happened in plain sight. Fingleton blatantly paid little more than lip service to the rules governing mutual societies and nobody shouted stop.
Instead of being held to account, he was lauded as some sort of mischievous, but brilliant, rogue basking in that most dangerous of Irish sentiments, sneaking regard.
He now leads a happy retirement, with the government's blessing:Astonishingly, in 2006, changes were made to the building society legislation specifically tailored to allow Fingleton sell the building society at the time and in the manner of his choosing.
Just to be on the safe side, the government has crippled the office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.It is all the more bizarre, because of the extent to which Irish Nationwide was a one-man band makes Fingleton’s responsibility for the €2.5 billion mess to be unveiled shortly absolutely unequivocal by comparison with his peers at the other banks. They at least followed corporate governance norms. It did not save them, but it does spread the blame.
The Government has pretty much washed its hands of the issue and left matters to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Financial Regulator.
This provides a convenient fig leaf for inaction but, as of the beginning of this month, the Government took control of the society when it gave it the first €100 million of the €2.6 billion of taxpayers’ money that will be needed to fix the mess created by Fingleton.
It would be nice to think that a letter from the Minister accompanied the cheque instructing the society to pursue its former chief executive and his pension. If Brendan Murtagh’s creditors can do it, then surely so can Fingleton’s former employers.
But even this seems unlikely given that the Government plans to dismantle Irish Nationwide as soon as possible.
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