Thursday 21 September 2017

Revealed: officials' deferential stance

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

ANGLO Irish Bank executives revealed their contempt for Irish financial authorities calling them a "shower of f*****g clowns" in the latest extraordinary recordings from the bank.

The content of the tapes, published by the 'Sunday Independent', also show how state officials maintained a soft, deferential stance when dealing with the bank.

The apparent contempt bank executives had for the authorities came in a conversation between then chief executive David Drumm and then head of capital markets John Bowe in late August/early September 2008.

Mr Drumm tells Mr Bowe that it was time to have a "conversation with our friends in Dame Street (the Central Bank)", about being bailed out.

He added: "I don't want any f*****g bolloxology from them."

In a later recording from October 2008, after the state guarantee of Irish banks, Mr Drumm admits to Mr Bowe that the bank was on the brink of breaching Central Bank rules as withdrawals reached more than €1.5bn in one day.

He said: "The regulatory minimums are not in themselves a disaster for the bank unless somebody finds out about them."

Meanwhile, another recording mentions former Taoiseach and then Finance Minister Brian Cowen.

The call dates from about April 24 when Mr Cowen had dinner with senior Anglo executives and was briefed on the challenges facing the bank.

Mr Bowe mentions the former Taoiseach in passing, telling another banker, "David (Drumm) called and he just kind of updated me on Cowen."

A number of senior figures from state financial authorities appear in conversations on the tapes for the first time, showing the bankers being treated with deference.

One regulatory official, Con Horan, is heard telling Mr Bowe in October 2008 that he has heard that Anglo has been "very aggressively in the market for funds", effectively using the state guarantee to generate business.

He begs the bank to "act ethically and in a proper manner" in relation to the guarantee.

Mr Horan was reassured by Mr Bowe that it was "definitely not true" that the bank would abuse the state guarantee.

Elsewhere, one of the top civil servants in the Department of Finance, Ann Nolan, can be heard laughing with Mr Bowe as well as sympathising over the pressure he's under.

Ms Nolan – tipped to be the next financial regulator – wishes him a happy Christmas, days after Mr Drumm's resignation in December 2008. She refused to comment last night.

Irish Independent

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