Wednesday 21 February 2018

Bank chief must do an awful lot better than this

THE Central Bank wasn't going to be slow to communicate with the gardai and provide assistance. So claimed Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan as anger mounted over the contents of the Anglo Tapes three months ago.

The governor said at the time that the bank wasn't aware of the existence of the tapes, but it planned to become acquainted.

"So there is one element in what has been disclosed in these tapes which alerts us at the Central Bank to the dimension which we had not been aware of, and which we think needs further scrutiny," he said then.

"That is the indications that the management of Anglo were deliberately misrepresenting the position of the bank with a view to accessing financial support from the Central Bank.

"So this is new in the sense that we knew they were looking for support but we did not know they felt their situation was much worse than they were communicating to the bank."

In his tough talking at the time, Prof Honohan spoke about the powers of the Central Bank itself and about liaising with the gardai.

It would be unfair to say the Central Bank hasn't been slow to take action, because they haven't moved at all.

Under intense questioning from TDs, angry at the excuses coming from the regulator over the delays in cracking the whip with the banks, Prof Honohan admitted that the bank hadn't even listened to the tapes – apart from what was published in the Irish Independent at the time.

He compared the entirety of the recordings from Anglo Irish Bank to a "haystack", and didn't know how to approach it.

The TDs on the Oireachtas Finance Committee were unconvinced that it was all that impenetrable and thought he should at the very least be looking for a needle.

Irish Independent

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