The Chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee, Jim Mitchell, has described a practice used by depositors with Ansbacher bank in the Cayman Islands as money laundering. The Committee heard today that Irish residents could lodge their money in accounts in the Islands through a representative of Ansbacher bank in Dublin. That representative was also a full time employee of Guinness and Mahon Bank. Individuals did not pay tax on the interest because of a legal loophole which dictated that Ansbacher bank actually owned the money.

Roy Douglas, the chairman of Irish Life and Permanent which now owns Guinness and Mahon said that there was a legally held view that in such cases the bank was the owner of the money and therefore individual account holders were not taxed. Deputy Mitchell then asked if it was not simply money laundering. Mr. Douglas said that the practise was designed to avoid tax.