KPMG WANTED FINGLETON BACK ON INBS BOARD IN 2008 -KPMG recommended Michael Fingleton be promoted back on to the board at Irish Nationwide in 2008, just two months after the government introduced the bank guarantee, which left taxpayers liable for €5.4 billion in losses at the building society. KPMG, the accountancy firm, completed a major review of corporate governance in Irish Nationwide on November 14th, 2008, which identified dozens of corporate governance failings in the society. But it found nothing after its five-month review that was sufficient to recommend sacking Mr Fingleton, who instead walked away with a €1 million bonus and a gold watch, writes the Irish Times. KPMG’s report was also sent to the Central Bank. KPMG instead advised that Mr Fingleton should be promoted again to the society’s board, a position from which the organisation’s rules had required him to step down on his 70th birthday. “Given the exceptional market circumstances, we believe that the current chief executive [Mr Fingleton] should be a member of the board,” KPMG said. It also found that the rules should be changed to allow Mr Fingleton back on the board he had dominated for decades. The accountants did say that the society needed a “succession plan” to replace Mr Fingleton, but did not place a timeframe on this, or conclude that there was enough wrong to dismiss him, despite its 44-page report finding that Irish Nationwide had many corporate governance failings.
BANK OF IRELAND BANS TRADE WITH CUBA AFTER US RULING - US regulations are forcing Bank of Ireland to restrict services to Irish customers doing business with Cuba.The Irish Independent has seen correspondence from the lender written to long-standing customers with legitimate business interests in Cuba telling them it can no longer process international transactions to or from the Caribbean island. The ban comes as French bank BNP Paribas was hit with a $9 billion fine by the US amid allegations it violated US sanctions involving Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Bank of Ireland has a tie-up with a leading bank in the US which handles all of Bank of Ireland's transactions under new European payment rules known as the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The US lender is bound by US regulations which ban payments being made to Cuba, Iran and Sudan, Bank of Ireland said. Bank of Ireland confirmed that it had written to affected customers who are doing business with Cuba explaining that it could not process payments on their behalf. "Our correspondent bank for all SEPA transaction is a leading US bank who must comply with its own regulatory requirements and obligations and to avoid a possible exposure to regulatory sanctions and penalties," Bank of Ireland said in a statement. "As a result of the decision by our correspondent bank, we are not in a position to process such transactions. This affects all international payments to or from Cuba and also any related SEPA payments," it added.
AMCS AGREES €8.25m FINANCING FACILITY WITH SILICON VALLEY BANK - Limerick-based specialist software company AMCS Group has agreed an €8.25 million financing facility with niche lender, Silicon Valley Bank, with the funds set to be used for acquisition-led growth, says the Irish Examiner. The latest lending round follows on from AMCS - which specialises in environmental technology solutions for the likes of fuel-efficient vehicle makers and the waste management and recycling sectors - creating 130 jobs on the back of a €23.4m funding round, led by global venture capital firm, Highland Capital Partners Europe and Investec Ventures, via the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, back in January. The new loan, from Silicon Valley Bank, which is seen as the premier lender to the technology and life sciences sectors, will boost the general working capital requirements of AMCS, but also help it pursue its acquisition strategy. SVB’s vice president, Andrew Hunter, said: “We are very excited to be working with such a successful and growing Irish company, and look forward to further supporting Ireland’s innovation sector in partnership with the National Pensions Reserve Fund.” AMCS has a global customer base of 700 companies and an annual turnover of €18m. Founder and chief executive, Jimmy Martin has previously stated the firm’s intention to expand further, through targeted acquisitions in growth markets, and yesterday stated the importance of financing from the likes of SVB.
SILICON VALLEY BILLIONAIRE WINS US BITCOIN AUCTION - A billionaire investor who is campaigning to split California into six states and who funds entrepreneurship classes for nine year olds has emerged as the mystery buyer of about $18m of Bitcoins auctioned by the US government, reports the Financial Times. Tim Draper, founder of the Silicon Valley venture capital group Draper Fisher Jurvetson, said he would use his stash of the virtual currency to back a venture selling Bitcoin to emerging markets. The US Marshals service, which confiscated the Bitcoin hoard when it shut down the drugs-and-guns marketplace Silk Road last year, said on Tuesday that an auction of 29,656 Bitcoin had been won by a single bidder, whose identity it did not reveal. The auction last week captivated the Bitcoin community, many of whose leading entrepreneurs put in bids or arranged consortiums of bidders. Supporters of the virtual currency believe it could become a viable alternative to currencies or shake up the expensive and slow international payments system. “Bitcoin frees people from trying to operate in a modern market economy with weak currencies,” Mr Draper said, in a statement revealing his victory in the auction. “Of course, no one is totally secure in holding their own country’s currency. We want to enable people to hold and trade Bitcoin to secure themselves against weakening currencies.”