Des Traynor - Irish elite's top money manager

Gareth Morgan

DES Traynor was the man who managed money for many of Ireland's most important people - and sent millions offshore to destinations such as the Cayman Islands.

He moved money through a complex series of accounts and companies in a bid to avoid scrutiny.

Mr Traynor was dubbed "Charlie's Bag Man" for the work he did for the late Taoiseach Charlie Haughey, who became deeply embroiled in the Ansbacher scandal.

Mr Traynor set up offshore Ansbacher accounts, allowing hundreds of well-heeled individuals, including Haughey, to evade tax. His role in administering funds which paid for Haughey's lavish lifestyle was closely probed by the Moriarty Tribunal.

He conducted most of his business discreetly in the corner of hotel lobbies, and scrupulously cut the letter heading off Ansbacher statements before sending them out to his clients.

Mr Traynor started life as a chartered accountant with Haughey Boland, and later worked for the building materials group CRH, which he helped turn into a multinational conglomerate.

Joan Williams, who was Mr Traynor's secretary for more than 20 years, gave the tribunal details of how Mr Traynor was running business from the premises.

Ms Williams told the tribunal that Mr Traynor kept a computer and filing cabinets dedicated to Ansbacher in his office at CRH, in Fitzwilliam Square. She said she had no direct knowledge of how the Ansbacher loan arrangements were run.

Despite his complex offshore dealings, Mr Traynor kept much of his own £1.7m fortune in ICS building society. When he died peacefully at his home in Howth Road, Dublin, in May 1994 aged 62, he had stocks and bonds valued at £889,318.

It would appear that he scrupulously paid his income tax and PRSI, and the Revenue Commissioners were so impressed with his financial housekeeping that following his death they gave his estate a tax rebate of more than £7,000. However, in 2007, Traynor's estate made a settlement of over €4m with the tax authorities.