A SPECIAL investigations team from the Revenue Commissioners will attempt to get criminal convictions against 19 former NIB executives involved in organising systematic tax evasion, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

The Revenue Commissioners will investigate the former NIB executives named in the damning High Court inspectors' report, including former bank boss Jim Lacey, and the Mayo TD, Beverley Flynn, to establish if they can be prosecuted for conspiracy to defraud the exchequer of tax.

Just 10 days ago, the chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Frank Daly, told the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts that he "would love" to be able to take an aiding and abetting charge in relation to tax evasion. "It would be very good for Revenue and for the country if we could see some aiding and abetting convictions, " he said.

The NIB customers who availed of the tax scheme will be asked by the Revenue investigators to cooperate in building the case.

All of the individuals at the centre of the investigation have left NIB but some still occupy senior positions in the financial world.

None of the individuals concerned was contactable yesterday. It is thought that Jim Lacey is out of the country.

While none of those involved in the scandal is still with NIB, the bank is now facing 30 outstanding writs from former CMI bondholders claiming they were improperly advised.

Some of the 470 customers who invested in the offshore scheme did so on the basis that the investment was taxfree, despite the fact that under Irish law the investment should have attracted Capital Gains Tax. The bank has settled 20 of the claims to date, paying out ?8.9m in settlements to offshore investors through a scheme set up to help the bank avoid costly litigation.

The Revenue Commissioners have recovered ?44m to date in arrears of tax, interest and penalties from the investors involved in various off-shore schemes promoted by NIB.

Chief executive Don Price yesterday said NIB does not plan legal action against the discredited former management. He declined to reveal details of pay-offs made to any of the 19 former managers.

NIB, a subsidiary of National Australia Bank, is widely expected to be sold by its parent company, which is currently going through some troubles of its own. The Australian bank made significant losses earlier this year due to the actions of rogue currency traders and is undertaking a group-wide review of its operations.