Following the publication of the Paradise Papers, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has said that the revelations that AIB were involved in assisting clients in avoiding tax by offshoring data and funds are disturbing.

Commenting, McGrath said: “AIB facilitated individuals and companies in avoiding tax, owed to the Irish State, by hiding funds and data in offshore jurisdictions.  It is deeply disturbing that AIB seemed to have protected vital data from the Revenue Commissioners in jurisdictions like Jersey and the Isle of Man all with the intention of avoiding tax.

“What is even more shocking is the fact that this was still happening despite the taxpayer bailing the bank out.  It is extremely serious that the bank received bailout money from the taxpayer on the one hand and at the same time was actively assisting individuals and companies in avoiding paying tax on the other.

“AIB needs to come clean and publicly issue a statement on the revelations in the Paradise Papers.

“Many questions remain to be answered.  First of all, it is not clear whether AIB eventually acceded to demands from the Revenue Commissioners for details on individuals held in its operations in Jersey and the Isle of Man.

“AIB also need to clarify whether they actively shifted data to offshore jurisdictions in order to prevent the Revenue Commissioners from accessing it.

“The Government too have questions to answer. The Minister needs to clarify if or when he or predecessor became aware of such operations and what if anything was done by the Government, as majority shareholder, to shut down the operations.

“I, as member of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, have requested that AIB be brought in front of the Committee to discuss this matter in a public forum.

“It is simply unacceptable that a bank in State ownership has conducted operations that facilitated people and companies in avoiding tax owed to the Irish State.

“At a time when Irish people been subjected to higher taxes and our public services have been stretched to breaking point, many citizens will rightly be asking questions as to how this happened and how it appears that there is one rule for them and another rule for the rich”, concluded McGrath.