Business Irish

Thursday 29 June 2017

Staff told not to mention IL&P deposits

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

ANGLO Irish staff were told to remove any reference to the controversial Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) deposits, worth €7.3bn in total, from their daily reports about the bank's funding position at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008.

The so-called 'circular deposits' are the leading area of investigation for gardai and the corporate enforcement watchdog Paul Appleby, both of whom are probing activities at Anglo in the second half of 2008.

An email, seen by the Irish Independent, shows that a senior executive told another executive: "Do not include this name [IL&P] in the daily interbank excess report you distribute,'' the staff member was told.

Circle

The email also referred to keeping information about IL&P within a tighter circle than usual.

Anglo, like other banks, prepares a daily report on inter-bank funding, which is distributed to a large number of key staff.

The email is believed to be among evidence gathered by investigators probing how the deposits were organised and who signed off on them. The subsequent reporting of the deposits in the books of Anglo Irish Bank is also being closely scrutinised.

Thousands of emails and documents are believed to have been taken from Anglo by investigators.

The movement of loans by former chairman Sean FitzPatrick over an eight-year period and the placing of Anglo shares with a so-called 'golden circle' of investors, mainly developers, are secondary in the garda investigation, with the deposits the key strand of the probe.

The Financial Regulator in February 2009 described the transactions as "completely unacceptable'', but the role of the regulator itself is also being probed.

Objected

Documents have been published by newspapers indicating that the regulator may not have objected to the transactions, viewing them as part of a so-called 'green jersey' agenda.

Denis Casey, ex-chief executive of IL&P, has claimed that regulators were aware of the transactions that flattered Anglo results for the year ended September 2008.

In a now famous remark, Anglo Irish claims that when finance director Willie McAteer told the Financial Regulator Anglo was planning to "manage'' its balance sheet before year end, the regulator replied "fair play to you, Willie''.

The Financial Regulator, led at the time by Patrick Neary, has never commented on whether this remark was said or not. It has maintained throughout that it never approved of this type of transaction.

Irish Independent

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