Today in the pressThursday 19 June 2014 12.13
QUINN FAMILY SUES STATE FOR €4.5 BILLION FOR LOSS OF BUSINESS - The family of former billionaire Seán Quinn has filed a legal action seeking €4.5 billion from the State to compensate it for the loss of its business empire following alleged illegal lending by Anglo Irish Bank. The family, according to a statement of claim delivered yesterday, is suing the Central Bank and the Minister for Finance as well as 10 former directors of Anglo. It is expected that these claims will be vigorously defended, writes the Irish Times. The family is not suing former Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick, or the bank's former chief executive, David Drumm. The Quinns allege the defendants, their servants, and/ or agents "conspired to commit illegal and/or unlawful acts through breaches of section 60 of the Companies Act 1963 and the Market Abuse Regulations 2005". These claims have already been denied by former Anglo directors. In a 28-page statement of claim, the family accuses the Central Bank of failing to fulfil its statutory duties to ensure Anglo "acted within the law and did not commit criminal and/or unlawful acts". It also accuses the Central Bank of knowing, encouraging and allowing Anglo lend more than €2 billion to the Quinn Group and family entities as "convenient vehicles for the purpose of the artificial support of the Anglo share price", contrary to market abuse regulations and the Companies Act.
CENTRAL BANK FAILS TO FIND REPLACEMENT FOR CHIEF ECONOMIST - The Central Bank has been unable to find a replacement for chief economist Lars Frisell despite a six-month search, the Irish Independent has learned. Mr Frisell left the Central Bank in March to take up a job with the International Monetary Fund's Africa training institute in Mauritius. His post was advertised globally after his resignation was announced in November, with the closing date for applications in early December. A spokeswoman for the Central Bank confirmed that the top job has still not been filled. The process remains open and deputy governor Stefan Gerlach has assumed Mr Frisell's responsibilities while the process continues, she said. However, it is understood an appointment is not imminent. Mr Frisell's resignation was the latest in a series of high-profile departures after former financial regulator Matthew Elderfield left early last year to take up a post with Lloyds Bank in London. Fiona Muldoon, who was the bank's No 3 and director of credit institutions and insurance, also announced in November that she was leaving. Mr Elderfield's decision to leave was announced just months after his former deputy Jonathan McMahon also left the bank. Mr McMahon left the Central Bank after two years in 2012 and is now a partner and global head of bank restructuring and regulation at Mazars.
DCC CHIEF SET FOR 2% PAY RISE - DCC chief Tommy Breen is in line for his first salary increase in seven years, with his basic pay set to rise by over 2% in the group's current financial year. According to the support services group's latest annual report, Mr Breen will be paid a basic salary of €715,000 in the current year, which runs to the end of next March. He has been paid €700,000 in basic pay since he took over as CEO in 2008, says the Irish Examiner. This year will also see similar pay increases for the other two executive directors on DCC's board; group chief financial officer, Fergal O'Dwyer's pay rising by 2.3% to €440,000 and that of Donal Murphy - who heads up DCC Energy, the largest of the group's divisions - going from €410,000 to €420,000. Total executive pay, at DCC, in the 12 months to the end of last March grew by 27% to just under €6.14m. Each of the three aforementioned directors saw their total remuneration packages rise (boosted by bonuses and benefit increases), with Mr Breen's total jumping by nearly 27% to just over €3m.
OIL MAJORS BEGIN EVACUATING STAFF AS BATTLES RAGE IN IRAQ - Oil majors including ExxonMobil and BP started evacuating staff from Iraq on Wednesday as Sunni militants battled for control of the north’s main oil facility and clashes continued to rage across the country. Exxon has been pulling expatriate staff out of its West Qurna 1 field in the south of Iraq, while BP has taken non-essential employees out of the giant Rumaila field it runs nearby, reports the Financial Times. Hans Nijkamp, chairman of Royal Dutch Shell in Iraq, said the company had a plan in place to remove staff from the country if the situation deteriorates, although it has not evacuated any employees so far. Iraq's main oil facilities are concentrated in the south, far from the areas captured over the past two weeks by rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis. So far exports and production have not been hit by the fighting. However, the evacuations show how Isis’ rapid military advance and the collapse of the Iraqi army in places like Mosul have started to change the calculus for western majors active in the south. Some experts warn that if the violence continues to escalate, oil companies that have spearheaded the revival of Iraq’s oil industry could be forced to reconsider their presence in the country. Ed Morse, chief oil analyst at Citi, said the insurgents’ recent military gains would have big repercussions for Iraq’s future oil supply and the world’s oil balance.