Sunday 26 October 2014

Anglo Tapes: Five things we learned the first time around

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

Five things we learned the first time around

1: THERE ARE TAPES

The first things most people learned when the Anglo Tapes emerged last year was that recordings from inside Anglo Irish Bank existed at all.

Three high-level investigations into the origins of the banking crisis had failed to bring the shocking disclosures contained on the tapes public.

The recordings provide a running commentary from inside Anglo Irish Bank in the months before and after the crash.

2: EXECUTIVES PLOTTED TO MISLEAD AUTHORITIES

The very first Anglo Tapes released in June last year recorded executives outlining a strategy to lure taxpayers and the Central Bank into supporting the stricken lender with cash by downplaying the true crisis at the lender.

The recording featured John Bowe being asked by colleague Peter Fitzgerald how the bank came up with the figure of €7bn requested as emergency loans from the Central Bank. CEO David Drumm said he, 'picked it out of my arse'."

"If they (Central Bank) saw the enormity of it upfront, they might decide they have a choice. You know what I mean?

"They might say the cost to the taxpayer is too high... if it doesn't look too big at the outset... if it looks big, big enough to be important, but not too big that it kind of spoils everything, then, then I think you have a chance. So I think it can creep up."

3: CONTEMPT FOR AUTHORITIES

For many the arrogance and contempt for authorities that comes across in the tapes was the hardest thing to swallow.

Officials were lampooned when discussions with the Financial Regulator at the time, Pat Neary and another regulatory official, were described.

"And then we had Pat Neary coming in and (the other official) saying (mimicking the official), 'C'mere lads, I just want to have a word with ya... yeah Jesus... so look, c'mere, have you actually got any decent assets that you can put in play? Is there stuff there, like, that has value? And look lads, you know, if you're going for this now, make sure whatever you get sorts it out, okay?'"

David Drumm described officials as "Freddie F***ing Fly down there at the Regulators".

And he was heard describing how he planned to force authorities to provide cash for the bank, by threatening to hand over "the keys" if they refused.

"We need the moolah, you have it, so give it to us..." Mr Drumm claims to have told authorities.

4: ATTITUDES WERE NOT CHANGED AFTER THE BANK GUARANTEE

There was outrage in Germany after it was revealed that David Drumm laughed about "abusing" the bank guarantee and warned his executives not to be caught.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out publicly to describe her "contempt" for the Anglo Irish Bank bosses, after hearing tapes of a "comedy" version of 'Deutschland Uber Alles' being sung by Anglo officials.

5: THE LOOMING DISASTER

The tapes also revealed how executives inside the bank were fully aware of the looming disaster, long before authorities.

In one of the earlier Anglo Tapes John Bowe mused about what would become of the bank, following the crisis.

"What will it end up being? It could be breaking it up and selling individual books, it could be nationalisation."

The bank was nationalised in 2009, but over the past year ended up being broken up and sold off in various "books" of loans.

Irish Independent

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