Anglo's day of reckoning arrives as Cabinet to discuss fate
THE Government is poised to make a final decision on the future of embattled Anglo Irish Bank at a cabinet meeting today.
Anglo's day of reckoning comes after Monday's crunch talks between Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and the European Commission's state aid chiefs.
Speaking in Brussels last night, Mr Lenihan said Anglo's controversial plan to split itself into a 'good bank' and a 'bad bank' had been comprehensively examined. "The commission has expressed an opinion on it, not a binding opinion, but a view," he said.
"The Irish Central Bank has expressed a view, the National Treasury Management Agency has expressed a view and my department are working on it. All these opinions are being brought to the Government so they can make a decision."
Asked if the Government would be in a position to announce its preferred route for Anglo today, Mr Lenihan said he "anticipated" the Cabinet would "look at the options and come to a conclusion on the matter".
He declined to be drawn on whether the Government will, as widely expected, reject the good bank/bad bank proposal.
Anglo's bosses have argued that the €25bn cost to the taxpayer will be €4bn to €5bn higher if the good bank is jettisoned and Anglo is forced to wind down its entire book.
Mr Lenihan declined to say whether he accepted the figures. He did confirm, however, that there was no prospect of the Government pushing for an immediate wind-up of Anglo.
Anglo bosses say the cost to the taxpayer could be €45bn in the event of an immediate liquidation, while Taoiseach Brian Cowen has mooted a figure as high as €70bn.
While the Government's final decision on Anglo will mark a significant milestone, any strategy must be ratified by the European Commission.
"We are in the process of intensive negotiation with the commission," Mr Lenihan said, adding that a "a final resolution on the Anglo difficulties will be announced within weeks".