Anthony Sheridan with another letter in the Irish Times today, oh and it appeared in the Irish Examiner today too.
Madam, – The powerful American billionaire Martha Stewart was recently sentenced to five months’ imprisonment for lying to government investigators about alleged insider trading in late 2001. From crime to jail sentence took less than three years.
Compare this with our latest banking scandal. The National Irish Bank investigation took more than six years. Bank personnel lied to and obstructed government investigators for at least a year. The bank was found to have stolen from its customers and the State. If prosecutions are taken – and judging from past experience this is highly unlikely – it will be many more years before justice is seen to be done.
It is also depressing to note that our so-called financial regulatory authorities have never, in their entire history, exposed wrongdoing in the Irish financial sector. Even the much lauded Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA) did not go public with the recent AIB scandal until a whistle-blower also informed RTÉ’s Charlie Bird.
Nor is there any reason to feel confident that the culture of corruption in the banking sector is being taken seriously by politicians. Legislators have allowed only a maximum fine of 5 million to be imposed for any future breaches of regulations. A typical Irish bank would consider such a fine as a minor blip in its petty cash account. The future is indeed bleak. – Yours etc.,