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Former Anglo Irish Bank to sue auditors who will 'vigorously defend' case

Ernst & Young is being sued over its involvement in the auditing of the former Anglo Irish Bank prior to it being nationalised nearly four years ago.

The famous Anglo Irish Bank sign. The bank has since re-branded and is now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
The famous Anglo Irish Bank sign. The bank has since re-branded and is now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE AUDITING COMPANY which is being sued by the former Anglo Irish Bank over its role with the bank prior to nationalisation by the government nearly four years ago has said it will “vigorously defend” the action being brought.

The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo, is to sue the chartered accountants Ernst & Young, confirming that it issued proceedings in the High Court on Tuesday.

The bank, which was nationalised in 2009 and will end-up costing the State close to €30 billion, says that the action relates to the role of Ernst & Young as auditors for Anglo Irish “pre-nationalisation”.

“As this matter is now the subject of litigation, it would be inappropriate for the Bank to comment further at this time,” it said.

Ernst & Young said that it was aware of proceedings but had not received a statement of claim which would set out the details of IBRC’s case and said that without such detail it would be “difficult for us to comment further”.

“We have consistently said we stand by the quality of our work performed in the Anglo audit and will vigorously defend any such proceedings,” the accountants said.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in September that IBRC had not been able to identify the exact personnel responsible for the auditing of the former Anglo Irish Bank’s accounts in 2008.

Anglo’s accounts for the financial year to September 2008 showed an after-tax profit of €664 million. These accounts were published in February 2009, a month after the bank had been taken into State ownership.

The Chartered Accounts Regulatory Board has also previously said that it intends to launch disciplinary hearings against Ernst & Young over its involvement in auditing Anglo.

Separately it has emerged in today’s Irish Times that Ernst & Young has also been appointed as auditors to the Quinn Manufacturing Group of which IBRC is a minority shareholder.

“The Bank’s on the record response is that IBRC is a minority shareholder in the Quinn Manufacturing Group and the appointment of auditors to the Group is a matter for the independent Board of Directors of that company,” a statement said.

The Department of Finance said that as the matter is now the subject of litigation it would be inappropriate to comment.

Read: Noonan: ‘We don’t know who audited Anglo in 2008′

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Hugh O'Connell

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