Thursday 21 September 2017

Latest Anglo Tapes revelations are 'amazing', says Burton

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton (pictured) says the latest Anglo Tapes are "amazing" as the recordings show how top executives knew the bank was in trouble long before the former Fianna Fail government did.

The minister's comments came after the Irish Independent revealed that worried Anglo chiefs wanted the Central Bank to express confidence in the bank's financial position, despite knowing the institution was in crisis.

The Anglo Tapes conversation between former Anglo chief executive David Drumm and head of treasury John Bowe took place in November 2007 – 10 months before the banking guarantee.

In the conversation, the Anglo bosses are desperate to defend their weakening financial position and to stave off attacks from international investors.

Ms Burton, who was Labour Party finance spokesperson at the time, said the Anglo Tapes were important even though people were saying "we knew all this before".

"The amazing thing about this morning's tapes is that they show these conversations were taking place in late 2007 and that was the time when Brian Cowen and Fianna Fail were saying there would be no bailout, and yet the people on the tapes seemed to have very high expectations about how they expected regulators and other public authorities to react on their behalf," she said.

The latest Anglo Tapes show Mr Drumm and Mr Bowe discussing how the then Central Bank governor, John Hurley, might be persuaded to help them out with a statement of confidence in the Irish banks.

Ms Burton also referred to another recent Anglo Tape, published in last weekend's 'Sunday Independent', where a leading British banker told an Anglo executive the banking industry had "totally f**king let the world down", but it was politicians such as then Taoiseach Brian Cowen who would lose their jobs.

"One of the people on the tapes actually expresses some level of sympathy for what the government is going to be landed with," she said.

Stephen Kinsella

Irish Independent

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