Home Knowledge Central Bank to Double Existing Fines for both Firms and Individuals found in Breach of Law

Central Bank to Double Existing Fines for both Firms and Individuals found in Breach of Law

In advance of next week’s second reading of the Central Bank (Supervision & Enforcement) Bill 2011, over 130 representatives from Ireland’s financial services sector attended a breakfast briefing hosted by John Larkin and Garrett Breen, Partners in the Regulatory Enforcement at William Fry. Delivered this morning, the briefing emphasised both the bolstering and extension of existing powers of the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), the doubling of fines for those found in breach of the law and the impact of the new ‘whistle-blower’ protections.

Garrett Breen advised attendees that, “The Bill will double the existing maximum penalties under the administrative sanction regime from €0.5m to €1m for individuals and from €5m to €10m (or 10% of turnover, whichever is greater) for firms found in breach the law. In line with these new sanctions, a person found guilty of an offence could also be required by the Courts to pay to the CBI the costs of it applying to the High Court for an order to pay resolution.”

Breen went on to say that, “The Bill also introduces new whistle-blower protections for those wishing to report any suspected contraventions or breaches to the CBI. Under the proposed legislation both employees and ex-employees reporting a reasonably held belief to the CBI will be protected from any civil liability and victimisation. Any employer found guilty of victimisation is punishable on indictment by a fine of up to €250,000 and or 5 years in prison.”

Attendees were reminded / informed that reports to the CBI cannot be made anonymously, however the CBI is not compelled to disclose the name of the whistle blower to the firm itself. A mandatory disclosure regime is also provided for under the Bill for those performing pre-approval controlled functions i.e. those in senior or influential positions within regulated financial service providers (RFSP). Failure to disclose could be grounds for an investigation and action under the fitness and probity regime.

John Larkin told guests that the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011 will broaden and deepen the CBI’s existing supervisory powers. “The Bill, which is expected to be enacted in early 2013, provides for a bolstering of many of the existing powers of the Central Bank as well as providing it with significant new powers.”

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