Monday 17 June 2019

Anglo pair discussed getting banker drunk and asking for €5bn

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Stock photo)
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Stock photo)
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

Anglo Irish Bank officials discussed getting "a bit of drink into" a foreign banker before asking him for €5bn and telling him to "sign the beer mat", a court has heard.

As the bank struggled during the financial crisis, senior executives talked about asking the London-based banker for a "one-night stand", in an approach a week before Anglo was bailed out.

Discussing the proposed deal, the pair said they would not need "physical cash" and would "just run the cash in one door and out the other".

A tape of the conversation between Anglo's then-chief financial officer Matt Moran and head of capital markets John Bowe was played to the jury in the trial of the bank's ex-CEO David Drumm. Mr Drumm (51) is pleading not guilty to conspiring to defraud Anglo investors by dishonestly creating the impression the bank's customer deposits in September 2008 were €7.2bn larger than they were. He is alleged to have conspired with former Anglo officials Willie McAteer and Mr Bowe, as well as then-CEO of Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) Denis Casey, and others.

The case at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court centres on a series of multi-billion euro interbank loans which circulated between Anglo and ILP. Mr Drumm also denies false accounting, by providing misleading information to the market.

On the tape, Mr Bowe and Mr Moran discussed what Mr Moran should say at an upcoming meeting with "Ewen".

The phone call took place on September 22, 2008, a week before the Government's bank guarantee. Mr Moran, who was in the witness box, confirmed to Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, that "Ewen" was Ewen Stevenson, of Credit Suisse, based in London. The transaction never actually went ahead.

"If I can get a bit of drink into him, I might say to him, I'd like about €5bn before the 30th," Mr Moran said on the tape.

"Get him to sign the beer mat," Mr Bowe said. "Do you think he'd be prepared to give us a little kind of one-night stand?"

"If I can promise him there's no f***ing STD out of it," Mr Moran said.

"It's a dance," Mr Moran said, and the pair discussed the proposed transaction. "It's sort of the cherry on the cake, plus a bit of the cake as well," Mr Bowe said, to laughter. "And the f***ing tin as well. And the bloody oven. We give them the eligible assets or we give them the cash and we just run the cash in one door and out the other," Mr Bowe said.

Mr Moran also gave evidence about references in Anglo documents to the transaction that was carried out with ILP later that month. Under "performance highlights" in the bank's December 3, 2008 preliminary results, customer deposits were €51.5bn. There was nothing to link that customer deposits figure to loans from banks, Mr Moran agreed.

Mr Moran understood Mr Drumm and Mr McAteer had met the Regulator at the end of September 2008 and informed the Regulator of the transaction with ILP. Mr Moran had made a note of what Mr McAteer said the Regulator's comment was. Mr McAteer said the Regulator told him: "Fair play to you," Mr Moran's note read. The words "good man" were crossed out.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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