Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Kenny 'understands rage' at bankers

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he understood how angry ordinary people felt about taped conversations of former Anglo Irish bankers

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he feels the anger and rage over taped conversations of former Anglo Irish bankers trying to get money from the state.

Senior figures in the toxic lender, John Bowe and Peter Fitzgerald, were recorded discussing how the bust bank was seeking a seven billion euro rescue fund, but that it needed more. The conversation took place on the eve of the September 2008 blanket bank guarantee scheme which ultimately led to the state paying for multibillion-euro bank losses.

Mr Kenny said legislation to help form a long-awaited Oireachtas inquiry into the banking collapse is to be introduced before the summer. "I understand the rage and the anger of so many people who have been affected by all of this in their daily lives," he said.

To date, the Government has not found a paper trail outlining what bankers told the Fianna Fail led government of 2008 when it brought in the guarantee.

The conversations - recorded as a matter of procedure in Irish banks and published by the Irish Independent - hear the men laugh at how money will not be paid back. The pair are heard talking about Anglo's liquidity issues around the time of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The taped phone call revealed how Anglo negotiators had told the Central Bank that it needed 7 billion euro to stabilise it, but that the bank's team knew the true cost would be higher.

It also suggests Anglo executives believed that once the State committed themselves to handing over money, they would keep supporting the rogue lender for fear of losing its initial investment.

The audio recording is from the bank's own internal telephone system and dates back to September 2008, weeks before the Government's bank guarantee scheme. Mr Bowe and Mr Fitzgerald deny they tried to mislead the Central Bank about the extent of the funding crisis at Anglo.

Mr Bowe was head of capital markets in Anglo, before becoming director of treasury at the time of the phonecall. He was director of corporate development for the rebranded bank, the Irish Bank Resolution Corpopration from March 2010 to 2012. He now works as an independent financial consultant.

Mr Fitzgerald was director of retail banking at Anglo in 2008 and went on to take up a role as head of corporate affairs for IBRC. He is now interim chief executive of the Addicition Counsellors of Ireland accreditation body.

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