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Bank chief quits after accessing sex site -
Category: News
Bank chief quits after accessing sex site

The top man in the Bank of Ireland has had to resign in disgrace after he was caught accessing adult sex sites on his office computer at the bank's headquarters in Dublin.

Chief executive Mike Soden used his personal computer in his luxurious private office on the seventh floor to access a Las Vegas escort agency prior to going on a business trip to the US.

The trip never happened, but the top man in Ireland's second largest financial institution paid the price for his indiscretion by falling on his sword

He quit his $1.96m a year job after using his office PC to first visit the site using the Google internet search engine at around 3pm on April 2. The site was also said to have been accessed on subsequent days.

The internet misuse was revealed nearly two months later when the bank's computer department was checking the way the internet was being used by employees.

Mr Soden admitted: "It was a silly incident. It was unfortunate and I am paying a high price for it. I regret it enormously. It was foolish.

"More than anything else I regret the hurt caused to my wife, the staff and the bank's shareholders. It was a case of curiosity killed the cat. The content accessed was not illegal but did contain links to material of an adult nature."

Mr Soden, a married man, is a member of the K Club in - Ireland's most exclusive golf club and the venue for the 2005 Ryder Cup.

He lives in one of Dublin's most exclusive neighbourhoods, Mespil Road, Ballsbridge, in a home he and his wife Lou bought for over $2.4m from Dunnes Stores supermarket chain heir Michael Heffernan.

A Bank of Ireland spokeswoman would not comment on whether the sites accessed on Mr Soden's computer were soft or hard porn but stressed that they were not illegal.

"It is an internal matter. It is not relevant what exact sites Mr Soden visited on his computer," she added, stressing that the sites were not illegal.

The revelations are a huge embarrassment for a bank that was once regarded as the most conservative financial institution in Ireland.

Ironically it did nothing to dampen enthusiasm for the bank's shares, which rose by 4% in the days after the affair made headline news on all the Irish news media.

Earlier this year, Bank of Ireland scapped a plan to financially back a British porn magazine group, which was preparing a flotation on the London Stock Exchange, following strong protests against the bank's involvement.



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