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Offshore banks rebuked in Central Bank warning shot

The Central Bank has issued a rebuke to a number of international lenders operating in Ireland for failing to meet regulatory obligations – in a sign of the watchdog’s greater focus on the sector following the fallout from the financial crisis.

The Central Bank said its latest report on offshore banks focused on the “accuracy and integrity” of international lenders’ regulatory returns. While no enforcement proceedings are underway, the regulator has privately upbraided the banks and set a deadline for remediation action. The Central Bank has not named the targeted lenders but this latest display of rigour from the watchdog sends a shot across the sector’s bows.

Fiona MacMahon, head of banking supervision at the Dame Street institution reminded international banks “the regulatory reporting requirements … expanded in response” and stressed the importance of “timely and accurate information”.

This morning the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform will hear details of a separate historic complaint from Jonathan Sugarman, a former employer at the Irish arm of Italy’s largest lender, Unicredit.

Mr Sugarman resigned from the lender in September 2007 and told members of the European Parliament last year that Unicredit repeatedly breached liquidity requirements in 2007, when global stock markets were reeling from the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The Central Bank fined the Milan-based institution €315,000 in 2014 for contraventions of EU law.

There is no allegation that Unicredit is not meeting its current regulatory obligations in Ireland.
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