Santander’s Irish deal eyed by Poles

Polish regulator KNF is to probe Spanish group Banco Santander’s deal to buy Zachodni WBK, the Polish arm of Allied Irish Banks, to see if confidential information was exchanged.

Allied Irish Banks said suggestions of any irregularity were unfounded while Ireland’s finance minister, Brian Lenihan, a minority shareholder in the Irish lender after a state bailout last year, defended the transparency of the sale process.

On Friday, Santander said it was to buy Allied Irish’s 70 per cent holding in BZ WBK for €2.9bn, beating French bank BNP Paribas and PKO BP, Poland’s top lender and backed by the government.

KNF confirmed it was looking at whether confidential information was exchanged. Santander would not comment.