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Religious orders on 'politically exposed' Anglo list


The former headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank

The former headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank

The former headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank

SIX Catholic religious orders were placed on a list of "politically exposed" investors who entrusted more than €250m to Anglo Irish Bank's private wealth management division.

The orders were placed on a list of "sensitive" investors along with a retired senior judge, an RTE star, an insolvency expert, a bestselling novelist and a member of the Seanad.

Lawyers, journalists and some of the country's leading pension funds as well as high net worth business people were also placed on Anglo's politically exposed persons (PEP) investor list.

One prominent businessman is understood to have invested more than €20m with the bank's wealth management division (WMD), while a property syndicate -- which included a number of law library luminaries -- asked wealth managers to invest millions of euro on its behalf.

Many of the PEP investors had borrowed funds from Anglo to invest in products, including property deals, that were promoted by the same bank.

The sensitive investors review, which included many former Anglo staffers, was drawn up by directors and managers shortly before the bank was liquidated last year.

The review was drawn up as part of a series of quarterly reports submitted to the board of Anglo after it was nationalised in 2009.

As well as the sensitive investors list, the board reviewed the loan status of more than 100 high-profile borrowers which included RTE stars, rugby players, judges and business people.

One of the religious orders has revealed how its investments suffered in the crash and with the recession.

The Sisters of the Infant Jesus, who were placed on the PEP list, confirmed that they lost money.

"Markets didn't spare anybody, Religious included," said the sisters in a statement.

"Our investments are naturally long-term and the losses would have been part of the gains made in better times."

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Some Catholic Church investors escaped with no losses.

The Diocese of Ossory, which was a client of Anglo's WMD, said that "at some stage" it had a fund managed by Anglo.

"The reason for having this fund subsequently changed and it was liquidated at no loss," said a diocesan spokesperson.

"The Diocese of Ossory lost nothing on this fund."

The Government, which nationalised Anglo in 2009, liquidated the lender in February 2013 following an all-night sitting of the Oireachtas dubbed 'prom night'.

Some of the high-profile borrowers' details were provided by the IBRC to the State under a dedicated 'Relationship Framework' document, regulating dealings between the Finance Minister and the bank after it was taken into state ownership.

It is not known if any investor relations were submitted to the Department of Finance.

Dearbhail McDonald and Sarah MacDonald

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