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Goldman Sachs in dual role on Anglo

Investment bank Goldman Sachs is snapping up discounted Quinn Group debt on behalf of clients while simultaneously advising the Irish government on Anglo Irish Bank's Quinn dealings.

Goldman Sachs has been retained by the Republic's National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) to run the rule over various plans submitted by Anglo. This role includes examining Anglo's proposal to buy embattled Quinn Insurance, which went into administration in April, to improve the bank's chances of recouping a €2.7bn debt owed by the wider Quinn Group and family, sources confirmed.

Separately, Goldman Sachs traders have also been actively buying up Quinn Group bonds on behalf of its clients.

It is understood that Goldman has taken a "small portion" of the €50m or so of Quinn debt that's been traded recently. This €50m is less than 4% of the €1.2bn in Quinn Group bonds outstanding.

The small level of debt that's been bought by Goldman means the bank's clients could not have a deciding say in the way the Quinn Group's debt is ultimately restructured.

However, the value of Quinn debt held by Goldman's clients could rise or fall depending on the way Anglo's outstanding issues with Quinn are resolved.

A spokeswoman for Goldman declined to comment on the identity of the bank's advisory clients, or on the specifics of any trading carried out for Goldman clients.

"All investment banks have Chinese walls in place to avoid and manage potential conflicts of interest [in general]," she added. "We are highly confident of the effectiveness of our Chinese walls."

A spokesman for the NTMA declined to comment.

It is understood, however, that the agency is aware of Goldman's limited dealings in Quinn Group debt.

The news comes as the Quinn Group's main lenders prepare to meet over the coming days to discuss the Cavan group's financial restructuring.

Senior lenders in the cohort include Allied Irish Bank, Barclays, Bank of Ireland and HSBC, who are all believed to be advised by Deloitte and Clifford Chance.

The Quinn Group has enlisted the restructuring expert Murdoch McKillop of Talbot Hughes McKillop to advise it on the process.

Anglo believes its best chance of securing repayment from the Quinn Group and Quinn family is by taking over embattled Quinn Insurance.