Mr Y, c/o Z Solicitors and Central Bank of Ireland

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date19 October 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the Bank.
RespondentCentral Bank of Ireland
Record NumberOIC-110624-M1D1Z8
Whether the Bank was justified in refusing access to three records relating to an investigation concerning Bloxham Stockbrokers on the basis that the Act does not apply to them, pursuant to Schedule 1, Part 1(b)(i) and whether it was justified in decision to refuse access, under section 15(1)(a), to any other relevant records

OIC-110624-M1D1Z8

Background

In 2012, the Central Bank of Ireland (the Bank) carried out an investigation into financial irregularities in the management of Bloxham Stockbrokers, a regulated entity. Subsequently, the Bank directed Bloxham to cease all regulated activity, and its business was transferred to another stockbroking firm. The applicant is a Ward of Court whose funds were handled by Bloxham.

In 2016, I issued a decision following review of a decision of the Bank to refuse access to three records it identified as coming within the scope of a request made by the applicant, through his solicitors, for any summary or final report following the Bank's investigation into Bloxham, detailing the reasons for the closure of the firm in June 2012, and in particular, the reason why the Bank imposed directions on the firm to cease all regulated activities. In my decision (Case 160399), I affirmed the Bank’s refusal of the request on the ground that the FOI Act did not apply to the records in question, pursuant to Schedule 1, Part 1(b)(i)(II) of the Act.

In a request dated 8 April 2021, the applicant, through his solicitor, submitted that same request on the ground that the report has since been finalised and can now be released. On 12 May 2021 the Bank issued a decision wherein it refused access to any summary or final report under section 15(1)(a) on the ground that no such report exists. However, it said that the three records that were the subject of my review in case 160399 contained relevant information. It refused access to those records on the ground that the Act does not apply to them.

On 25 May 2021, the applicant sought an internal review of the Bank’s decision. The applicant argued that other records apart from the three identified on foot of the original request should exist and also suggested that the passage of time has changed the situation to allow for the release of the three records to which access was refused. On 17 June 2021, the internal reviewer affirmed the refusal of the three records.

On 15 July 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the Bank’s decision, in which it was suggested that the reasons for refusal of...

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