Wednesday 21 March 2018

Bowe kept his job at bank until last year

Questions are now being asked as to why the executive was kept on at Anglo Irish Bank, writes Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

WHEN it came to luring the Central Bank into supporting Anglo Irish Bank with a borrowing requirement of €7bn, John Bowe said he "picked it out of my arse".

And when the deposits flowed into the bank's ailing coffers from Germany in the days after the infamous bank guarantee, he regaled Anglo's then chief David Drumm over the phone, singing Deutschland Uber Alles.

Given those antics, it's hardly surprising that serious questions are being asked in the wake of the Anglo tapes release as to how Mr Bowe managed to stay working at the bank right up until last year.

An investigation by the Sunday Independent can today reveal Mr Bowe's movements within the bank and the circumstances surrounding what many will see as his belated departure from it, some four years after its disastrous downfall in 2008.

Commenting on Mr Bowe's role in the wake of Anglo's nationalisation and subsequent rebranding as the IBRC, a source familiar with the matter said the former head of capital markets and acting head of treasury had been moved immediately to another department and into a position where he no longer reported directly to the CEO.

The source said that Mr Bowe's new role within the organisation allowed the bank to make use of his "technical expertise" but removed him from involvement in the area for which he had responsibility previously.

It is understood that Mr Bowe was among a number of Anglo executives reassigned to new roles.

The decision by the bank's new management to reassign numerous of its employees to fresh roles within the institution was merely the beginning, however, of a lengthy process to transform the organisation, the Sunday Independent understands.

Separately, a process was put in train shortly after the State took control of Anglo to identify "key legacy issues" that the bank's new directors believed might merit investigation.

That process was initiated by the team of government-appointed directors that included former Fine Gael minister Alan Dukes and former Revenue Commissioners chairman Frank Daly among its number.

As part of their investigations, the bank's new directors also sought, with the assistance of a team from leading Dublin law firm McCann Fitzgerald, to identify all those employees who had an involvement in making the decisions surrounding those legacy issues and those who had merely been involved in processing the transactions.

The investigation also sought to identify employees who could reasonably have been expected to "speak up" and express their concern if they had questions in relation to the propriety of the transactions that were being conducted within the bank.

Upon the completion of that inquiry, the management of the newly nationalised Anglo established an enhanced code of conduct for the bank's personnel, which required all employees to speak up in cases where they suspected that breaches or failures in behaviour or ethics had occurred.

The Sunday Independent understands that once the new code of conduct was in place, Anglo's newly appointed CEO Mike Aynsley and his board made the decision to conduct a thorough examination of the bank's remaining personnel in order to ascertain their level of knowledge, participation or otherwise in the bank's legacy issues prior to nationalisation.

It is understood that it was indicated to a number of employees, including John Bowe, that they would be expected to include themselves in this process.

This newspaper further understands that Mr Bowe declined and decided instead to resign from his position, with a view to seeking fresh opportunities elsewhere.

Efforts by the Sunday Independent to contact Mr Bowe for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

Irish Independent

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