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What did the owners and public interest directors of AIB know about tax avoidance is the question - Pearse Doherty TD

6 November, 2017 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson has said the Paradise Papers’ AIB connection is deeply concerning and raises questions as to why the State owned bank was allowed continue target clients for tax avoidance schemes even after it was nationalised. He said this is a political issue, not simply a banking or financial one.

Deputy Doherty said:

“I am deeply concerned at the AIB connection in the Paradise Papers. Tax avoidance is always a political issue but when it involves a State Bank tapping up clients for avoidance schemes the question must be asked about what political oversight was in place.

"If the Minister for Finance’s office was ignorant about what was going on then that just raises more questions such as what were the Public Interest Directors up to at this time.

"The excellent work of the journalists involved in the Paradise Papers must be commended by all of us who want to build a fairer country and world.

"The delay by government in transposing anti- money laundering directives and the shockingly weak anti-White Collar Crime initiative launched last week shows that the Fine Gael government is not interested in taking on white collar crime or schemes designed to avoid the law.

"The Paradise Papers revelations pose the bigger question as to whether they knowingly tolerate such schemes. This issue cannot be dismissed as just another bank scandal.

"The tax avoided means more tax for workers and less services for the public. Those involved and those that facilitate it are on a par with the bankers responsible for the tracker mortgage scandal.

I have tabled a series of questions to the Minister about what he or his predecessor knew about this scheme operating at a State owned bank.

"I have also asked what others Irish banks refused to hand over data or information requested by the Revenue Commissioners. Before any government Minister attacks AIB over this issue I advise them to have a look at what information their colleagues might have on the issue.”

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