Business Irish

Sunday 21 September 2014

Rogue trader Rusnak turns to life of grime with dry cleaning business

Published 22/11/2012 | 05:00

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JOHN Rusnak is no stranger to dirty business. It's a decade next January since rogue trader Rusnak was sentenced to seven years inside for hiding nearly $700m in losses from Baltimore-based Allfirst, which was owned by AIB at the time.

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Released in 2009 (after providing inmates with personal finance classes), Rusnak has gone from having his collar felt to ironing them.

He now runs a successful chain of franchised dry cleaners in the city – Zips.

The website for the company behind his franchise notes that he is a "former financial markets trader" who started his business "after many tribulations in life".

That's putting it mildly. Rusnak came close to bringing down Allied Irish Banks when it was revealed that he been making enormous currency bets and then cooking the books to hide his resulting losses.

And, continuing his restoration, he's been involved in a charitable enterprise that collects old winter coats that are then cleaned, repaired and distributed to the needy.

Deductions

He helpfully pointed out on a local radio interview this month that people who donate coats can also avail of a tax deduction.

"I'm really thankful. In this tough economy, Zips is still expanding, the business is going well.

"We're really thankful for all the growth we've had, so we thought it was important for us to give back," said the former trader.

And Rusnak is still giving back. One of the conditions of his sentence is that upon his release from prison he has to pay $1,000 a month for five years to Allfirst, which AIB sold in 2002 to M&T.

That will amount to $60,000 (€47,000) – barely enough to pay for a bankers' Christmas party.

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