Lenihan predicts charges for Anglo bankers
PROSECUTIONS will follow the investigations into the activities at Anglo Irish Bank, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has predicted.
But the taxpayer is still going to have to pay to clean up the nationalised bank because it is "too big to fail".
Mr Lenihan said half the bank's loans would go into the National Asset Management Agency and the rest would have to be worked through by new management.
The minister's comments indicated the Government would proceed with further recapitalisation of the bank.
"The great difficulty with Anglo -- and I am asked this all the time -- is why doesn't the State let this institution go to the wall? The answer is that this institution was too big to fail in terms of Ireland.
"Our problem with Anglo is that its balance sheet was very large. It was probably nearly half of our annual national wealth and clearly if you let an institution like that fail, the ripple-effects to the credit of Ireland and the credit of the banking system would be enormous," he told the 'Sunday Independent'.
"To de-risk an institution like that can't be done immediately, it takes time and that is what is under way," he said.
Mr Lenihan became the latest cabinet member to predict that bankers would come before the courts.
There are three investigations ongoing into the banking scandals by the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Garda Fraud Office and the Financial Regulator. The conclusions from these inquiries will then be passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide if any charges can be pressed.
Mr Lenihan said: "I believe there will be prosecutions in relation to what happened in Anglo Irish Bank. But it is not a matter for me. It is a belief of mine, but it is not a matter for me to decide; that will be a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"However, I am satisfied that the authorities are engaged in a wide-ranging and productive inquiry on these matters."
The minister pointed out he previously had views on the length of time the investigation was taking, but he was "satisfied that investigations are now proceeding at a good pace".
Communications Minister Eamon Ryan predicted late last year that bankers would face the courts in 2010 over their "malpractice" and "improper conduct".