Commissioner Vestager invites whistleblowers to use anonymous online tool
Brian Hayes MEP today (Wednesday) encouraged whistleblowers from within the banking sector to come forward to give hard evidence about the tracker mortgage scandal.
“DG Competition has informed me that they are taking the tracker mortgage scandal very seriously and that they are continuing to monitor developments on the issue.
“Commissioner Vestager yesterday informed me in an ECON Committee hearing that they first need to establish which institution or authority is best placed to investigate alleged cartel activities of Irish banks. The Commissioner invited whistleblowers to use the Commission’s anonymous whistleblowing tool if they want to come forward with information.
“We do need hard evidence from within the banking sector into the practices employed by banks that led to this scandal. I would encourage whistleblowers to take the advice of Commissioner Vestager and provide evidence on a confidential basis. I would also encourage Irish citizens and others who have worked so hard on exposing the tracker mortgage scandal to submit their information and evidence to DG Competition so they can have the fullest picture of the tracker mortgage scandal.
“I have initiated a complaint procedure with DG Competition so that it investigates potential cartel activities in Irish banks in relation to the tracker mortgage rates. We need to have a full and proper examination into what happened, why it happened and whether or not banks were colluding together to fix a strategy on how tracker mortgages. At this stage we have no answers.
“There are clear EU internal market issues at play here; we have a well-developed banking union in the EU where all major banks are regulated according to the same rulebook. The Commission has a responsibility to undertake the fullest investigation possible to ensure that banks cannot collude together to control rates and distort the market. The tracker mortgage scandal has caused great distress and hardship for many families in Ireland and we need to ensure that this kind of thing cannot happen again.
“The Commission has acted decisively in this area before and has established proper precedent. In June 2002, the Commission fined eight Austrian banks in the “Lombard Club” cartel case. Additionally, in December 2016, the Commission issued fines for Crédit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase for their part in fixing euro interest rate derivatives. This is an ongoing investigation and the fines are expected to be in the billions.”