independent

Monday 21 April 2014

'No new issues' in Anglo bank tapes

Taped conversations at the former Anglo Irish Bank have brought about no new criminal issues, the Central Bank says

There are no new criminal issues arising from controversial taped conversations at the former Anglo Irish Bank, the Central Bank has said.

The regulator reviewed recordings involving senior figures at the bank, including former chief executive David Drumm, as they prepared to secure an initial bailout.

The Central Bank said it would not be sending any more files to the Garda fraud squad on suspected criminality at the now-defunct rogue lender.

The Central Bank said in a statement: "The tapes raised concerns that Anglo may have deliberately misrepresented its financial position when it sought financial support from the Central Bank in 2008.

"The Central Bank has examined Anglo's interaction with the Central Bank at the time in relation to this matter.

"No new issues have been identified that relate to suspected criminal offences having occurred and as a result, the Central Bank does not intend, and is not required, to make any further statutory reports of suspected criminal offences to An Garda Siochana or the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in relation to this matter."

The Central Bank has been studying transcripts of taped conversations since June.

Leaked recordings, known as the Anglo Tapes, indicated senior Anglo bankers planned to seek an initial seven billion euros from the Central Bank. The tapes suggested that the pot of money was enough to worry the regulator into acting but small enough to make sure it would not be allowed to collapse.

One recording outlined how bosses were ordered by Drumm, now based in the US, to go to the Central Bank with ''arms swinging'' to demand ''moolah''.

Another revealed that head of treasury John Bowe claimed that regulators were ''effectively egging us on - for Irish banks to help each other''.

The executives denied any wrongdoing.

Phone calls between the pair, and others at the bank, were recorded as a matter of routine as Mr Bowe worked on a trading desk.

Anglo has cost the Irish state about 30 billion euros and is being liquidated under the rebranded Irish Banking Resolution Corporation.

The recordings revealed a cut-throat culture and exposed executives joking about a potential bailout and the controversial blanket bank guarantee.

The tapes date back to the period around September 2008 when the then Fianna Fail-Green Party coalition government brought in the 440 billion-euro guarantee.

The tapes were first reviewed by Garda fraud investigators three years ago when criminal investigations into the bank first got under way.

Separately, Director of Public Prosecutions Claire Loftus issued a strong warning last week to the media and commentators about the risks of prejudicing trials involving former Anglo chiefs.

She warned that the risks of committing a contempt of court by publishing or broadcasting prejudicial material increase as any trial date approaches.

Her comments followed confirmation from Taoiseach Enda Kenny that the Government had set wheels in motion for an investigation into the September 2008 blanket bank guarantee and events surrounding it.

There have been concerns that a parliamentary inquiry at the same time as lengthy and complex fraud trials would spark protracted High Court challenges from those involved.

Press Association

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