The chief executive of the financial regulator, Pat Neary, announced his decision last night to retire early over the handling of the regulator’s investigation into the €87 million in secret directors’ loans at Anglo Irish Bank.
An internal investigation by a committee of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority found that there had been a breakdown in internal communication and process within the regulator’s office, following the discovery of the hidden loans to Anglo’s former chairman Seán FitzPatrick in January 2008.
Mr FitzPatrick had, over an eight-year period, transferred the loans off Anglo’s books to Irish Nationwide Building Society before the bank’s year-end on September 30th and moved them back afterwards to avoid them being publicly disclosed.
Mr Neary said in a statement that he was unaware of the loans until they were raised with him by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan last month. “So far as I am concerned, I was not advised of any such matters in early 2008 and there has been no oral, written or e-mail escalation of these issues to me or to the authority over the period until the matter was raised with me by the Minister on 10th December, 2008,” he said.
Many people have called for Mr Neary to resign or be removed from the job. Early retirement still means he will no longer be in office – but it probably means he will keep any pensions and benefits associated with the job.