Tuesday 21 November 2017

Anglo outcome won't ease cynicism about who pays

Former Anglo Irish Bank executives Pat Whelan, left and William McAteer
Former Anglo Irish Bank executives Pat Whelan, left and William McAteer

Many people will be shocked and somewhat dismayed that the two former Anglo Irish Bank executives Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan were spared jail because the scheme that was cooked up to try to protect the share price of the hopelessly insolvent Anglo Irish Bank was effectively given the 'green light' by the Financial Regulator, whose office had the specific remit of preventing such disasters befalling the Irish people.

According to Judge Martin Nolan, the two principals in that office, the then Financial Regulator Patrick Neary and his deputy Con Horan, "were more anxious to solve the problem than to comply with the technicalities of law". The office of Financial Regulator was set up after a series of bank scandals, yet when one of the biggest scandals in this accident-prone industry was emerging, the "overarching purpose (of the Regulator) was to save the bank and the banking system".

Now, nearly six years after the events of 2008, when the Maple 10 scheme was devised by the chief executive of the bank David Drumm with the assistance of the two senior executives, we find that Mr Drumm is in America and the two convicted Anglo bankers, Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan, will be assessed for community service, the sentence imposed on them by Judge Nolan on the basis that it would be "most unjust to jail these two men when I feel that a state agency has led the two men into error and illegality".

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