Those banking inquiry leaks to the media have been referred to gardaí

The plot thickens.

Updated 7pm 

THE BANKING INQUIRY will refer the leaking of confidential witness statements to the media to An Garda Síochána.

In a statement today, an Oireachtas spokesman said the inquiry would ask gardaí to look at the “issue of unauthorised possession of certain documents”.

It follows the leaking of former Finance Department official Kevin Cardiff’s 380-page statement to the inquiry.

The matter was discussed at this afternoon’s private meeting of the inquiry committee at Leinster House prior to a statement being issued this evening.

Details of his evidence, which included what happened in government buildings on the night of the notorious bank guarantee, were first published in the Sunday Business Post and then the following day’s Irish Times.

It is still unclear how information from a witness statement which was recently published in the media came to be in the public domain ahead of a scheduled public hearing,” the spokesman said.

Cardiff Kevin Cardiff Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

‘May constitute an offence’

Cardiff is due to appear before the inquiry on Thursday, but the spokesman said the leaking of the documents “may constitute an offence” under a parliamentary act.

The inquiry committee also plans to write to the person (or persons) originally sent the statement and the media outlets involved to warn them any publication was in breach of the law.

Separately, the government this evening confirmed that it had agreed to a request from the inquiry to waive the confidentiality of legal advice from the Attorney General related to the bank guarantee.

It’s understood the request relates to advice given to the previous government. The decision was made at today’s cabinet meeting.

The government has also agreed to allow the Department of Finance to waive its right to confidentiality of legal advice received from private law firms. This also follows a request from the banking inquiry.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell  

READ: Why it’s pretty unlikely Denis O’Brien will face the baking inquiry >

READ: Seán FitzPatrick and David Drumm have been asked to come before banking inquiry next month >

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