Ireland's incoming central bank governor will make a statement on his handling of a leak of sensitive budget information in New Zealand before starting his new job in September, Ireland's finance minister said on Monday.
Gabriel Makhlouf was criticised by a New Zealand government inquiry last week over how, as the country's outgoing treasury secretary, he failed to take responsibility for the leak or meet expectations about how it should be handled.
The controversy prompted a call from one of Ireland's smaller opposition parties for Makhlouf's appointment to be suspended pending the results of the investigation. Others have since called for the former senior British civil servant to address the findings before he takes over.
"As we approach his taking over as governor, a statement to respond back to the report will happen. I know he is aware of the debate that has ignited here in Ireland and he wants to ensure he can spend the early part of his tenure focussing on his work as the governor," Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told a news conference.
"It goes without saying, I wish this issue had not occurred in the way it did. From engaging directly with Mr. Makhlouf both during the recruitment process and in the aftermath of it, it continues to be evident to me that he is a public servant of the highest calibre who I think will provide excellent leadership."
The New Zealand government ordered the investigation of the leak, which came because the budget information was available on the treasury's website. Makhlouf said the website was "deliberately and systematically hacked", but police said nothing illegal happened.
It was later discovered that the opposition National Party found the budget details using the website's search function.
Makhlouf, who will also sit on the Governing Council of the European Central Bank as part of his mandate, apologised in a short statement last week that the information was not kept secure and said the report confirmed he acted at all times in good faith and with political neutrality. (Reuters)