Business Irish

Thursday 18 September 2014

Give us €4bn – shower of f**king clowns...

Anglo shows its contempt for 'Dame Street' – Central Bank – 'I don't want any bolloxology from them'

Tom Lyons and Gavin Sheridan

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Former Anglo chief executive David Drumm

David Drumm considered the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator a "fucking shower of clowns" during Ireland's financial meltdown. In new Anglo Tapes, the Sunday Independent can also reveal Anglo executives telling each other: "David [Drumm] called and he just kind of updated me on Cowen."

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The conversation, in April 2008, yet again links the former finance minister and Taoiseach to the bank that bankrupted Ireland. The tapes show how Drumm and his executives considered Ireland's financial watchdogs to be pushovers.

"I wonder is it time for us to act the complete bastards?" Drumm ponders, as he chats about pushing the Central Bank into giving Anglo billions. In October 2008, Drumm admits to John Bowe that Anglo is close to breaching Central Bank rules as withdrawals reach over €1.5 bn in a single day. "The regulatory minimums are not in themselves a disaster for the bank unless somebody finds out about them," Drumm says.

The north Dublin banker says it is time for the bank to have a "conversation with our friends on Dame Street [the Central Bank]," about being bailed out by it. "Our buddies on Dame Street. . . I don't want any fucking bolloxology from them," he adds.

New tapes also reveal how the Financial Regulator and the Department of Finance treated the bankers with deference. After the bank guarantee, Con Horan, the Financial Regulator's prudential director with responsibility for supervising Anglo from 2007, politely asks the bankers: "Can you come down to me for 15 or 20 minutes this afternoon?"

Horan is reassured by Anglo that it would never abuse Ireland's State bank guarantee. "Definitely, not true Con," he is told by John Bowe, the bank's head of treasury.

"I think that there is a danger, unless we're clever about this, that we'll bring the whole thing down on top of us," Horan frets. "Because other banks are kicking up an awful lot and there is a possibility that we could blow this whole thing out of the water at a European level if we over egg this, you know?" he adds.

 

"Very strongly get out there to the guys and make sure that everybody acts ethically and in a proper manner with this guarantee. Clearly, we have to run a parallel thing as well. Will you just do that and come down around 2.30 and we'll talk about what we might do to organise this a little bit better because we're running fierce risks at the moment," he tells Anglo.

Horan is currently on secondment from Ireland's Central Bank to Europe.

The tapes also reveal Ann Nolan, a senior Department of Finance banking official who is tipped to be the next Financial Regulator, laughing and wishing Anglo executive John Bowe "a happy Christmas" as she prepares to go on holidays just weeks before the State is forced to nationalise Anglo.

She says: "I mean, I think there is an extent to which you know a lot of things happened that might have been better if they didn't happen. But we're all trying to sort the problem out or not make it worse, you know!"

The tapes also reveal meetings in the Westin Hotel in September 2008 between senior Anglo executives and Denis Casey and Gillian Bowler, the chief executive and chairwoman of Irish Life & Permanent respectively.

Drumm states in the tapes that he believes Bowler was "listening" to his bank's pleas for financial aid but that Casey had a "fucking brick wall in front of him" and was refusing to listen to the bank. Drumm tells Bowe that it is the "last fucking roll of the dice" if Anglo can't convince IL&P to support its balance sheet.

In June 2008, Drumm can be heard ranting: "The market is drunk, the market is fucking drunk again. It is fucking madness." Bowe tells his boss that he has rung the Financial Regulator to put it on "alert".

Drumm replies that he doesn't believe its officials are taking the crisis seriously enough as they won't get fired and are just "going to get the cheque for the next fucking 20 years", no matter what.

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