Tape recordings from inside the once-“doomed” Anglo Irish Bank reveal for the first time how the institution’s top executives lied to the government about the extent of their losses at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 in a scandal that drove the nation into austerity, Paul Williams reports at The Irish Independent.
The tapes, which come from the bank’s internal telephone system, show Anglo Irish senior manager John Bowe laughing and joking as he tells another senior manager, Peter Fitzgerald, how the bank was luring the Irish government into giving it billions of euros. Bowe was involved in negotiations with Ireland’s Central Bank at the time.
On June 23 of this year, Bowe said in a statement that he had not misled the Central Bank. Fitzgerald denied having any knowledge of an intent to mislead the authorities. The tapes seem to show that both lied.
At the time of the recordings, Anglo was days away from a complete meltdown. Bowe is heard describing how he initially asked the state for 7 billion euros ($9.2 billion), knowing full well that it would not be enough to save the bank.
“The plan was that once the State began the flow of money, it would be unable to stop,” notes Williams.
Bowe is heard saying: “… the reality is that actually we need more than that. But you know, the strategy here is you pull them in, you get them to write a big check and they have to keep, they have to support their money, you know.”
Fitzgerald: “Yeah … They’ve got skin in the game and that’s key.”
Bowe: “They have invested a lot. If they saw … the enormity of it up front, they might decide, they might decide they have a choice. You know what I mean? They might say the cost to the taxpayer is too high. But … if it doesn’t look too big at the outset, if it looks big, big enough to be important, but not too big that it kind of spoils everything … then I think you have a chance. So I think it can creep up.”
As a result of this situation, Ireland was forced into a brutal international loan repayment scheme that has left little to no money to fund public services.
Click here to hear the tapes.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Paul Williams at The Irish Independent:
Mr Bowe’s comments in the audio recording reveal that Anglo’s strategy was to lure the State in, leaving taxpayers with no choice but to continue to provide loans to “support their money”.
The recording also shows Mr Bowe and Mr Fitzgerald laughing as they say how there is no realistic chance of ever repaying the loans.
For the first time, taxpayers get an exclusive insight into the banking shenanigans that cost Ireland our sovereignty.
The Irish Independent