Bank scandal mounts
Bank scandal mounts

Allied Irish Banks, Ireland’s largest retail bank, has made a series of revelations which has raised fears of a culture of dishonesty at the bank.

Five former senior executives of AIB put money into an offshore company run by the bank’s investment arm in a breach of tax law. Five further executives -- three of whom are still working in AIB -- engaged in other tax dodges.

Yesterday’s revelations come as the bank is being investigated for overcharging foreign exchange customers. In particular, it was revealed that purchasers of travellers cheques were charged 1.5% more than they should have been.

Mortgage holders were also charged for unrequested services, with several hundreds paying up to 50 euro extra per month for the past four years without their approval.

The bank faces a separate inquiry concerning overcharging for the management of some trusts.

The latest inquiry also discovered dodgy practices at the bank’s investment arm in the early 1990s which resulted in six-figure repayments to clients.

The chairman of AIB, Dermot Gleeson, said the practices disclosed were “completely unacceptable. High standards are what the 25,000 people who work in AIB most earnestly desire. It is no more than our customers, shareholders, employees and regulators are entitled to expect,” he said.

The bank’s chief executive, Michael Buckley, said the practices uncovered had “no place in AIB”. The bank refused to name the individuals involved, citing legal reasons.

The initial estimate for overcharging of foreign exchange customers was 14 million euro - then it was in excess of 25 million and the estimates continue to grow.

Last week, it wqas revealed that purchasers of travellers cheques were charged 1.5% more than they should have been. Then we learned that b

Commenting on the latest revelations Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Caoimhghin O Caolain said it was a “scandal” that AIB, with the other banks, had made a profit of 1.3 billion euro while their corporate tax paid was cut by almost one-third.

“Every day brings new revelations about how AIB has ripped off its customers, that it has been doing so for many years, and that it has done so with impunity.

“Protections for bank customers and the sanctions for banks are totally inadequate. What action will the government now take to strengthen consumer protection and to combat this form of white-collar crime?”

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