Anger at Anglo Irish Bank execs’ moolah comments

Anglo Irish Bank executives were recorded in candid talks ahead of bailout negotiations. Picture: PA
Anglo Irish Bank executives were recorded in candid talks ahead of bailout negotiations. Picture: PA
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EXECUTIVES at Anglo Irish Bank talked about going in “with arms swinging” to demand “moolah” from Ireland’s central bank to keep the lender afloat, according to taped telephone conversations.

Transcripts of phone calls between Anglo executives in 2008 have caused outrage in Ireland, which was pushed into a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout by the cost of rescuing failed banks after a property bubble burst.

In a transcript published by the Irish Independent yesterday, Anglo’s then-chief executive, David Drumm, and then-head of capital markets, John Bowe, discuss a forthcoming meeting with the central bank. Drumm says he will demand a big cash injection for Anglo.

“Get into the f*****g simple speak – we need the moolah, you have it, so you’re going to give it to us, and when would that be?” Drumm said, using a slang term for money.

“I’ll be forcing the agenda. We’ll go down there with our arms swinging,” Drumm said on the recording.

In the tapes, speaking of a potential collapse, Drumm tells Bowe: “And by the way, the game has changed now because really the problem now is at their [regulators’] door. Because if they don’t give it [€7 billion] to us on Monday they have a bank collapse. If the f*****g money keeps running out the door, the way it has been running out the door.”

Mr Drumm said that he would ask the regulators: “How are you getting on with that loan, lads?”

He said he would tell officials: “If you want the f*****g keys now, I can give them to you. So I’m relaxed about it.”

Bowe and another executive, consumer banking chief Peter Fitzgerald, have said they regret the tone of the conversations but have denied any wrong-
doing or intention to mislead the central bank. .

The central bank said on Wednesday it will investigate whether the tapes of senior bankers laughing at regulators contain evidence rules were broken during the 2008 rescue.

Ireland’s government offered a blanket guarantee to Anglo and other lenders in 2008 to keep them operating.

The rescue eventually cost taxpayers some €30 billion, almost one-fifth of annual output, forcing Dublin to take an €85 billion aid package in late 2010.

Irish people, many of whom have had salaries cut and taxes raised to help pay debts resulting from the rescue, have not protested against austerity as fiercely as the Greeks or Spaniards, but the “Anglo Tapes” have sparked public anger.

The revelations from the recordings could also harm Ireland’s efforts to secure more European funds to recapitalise the banks and so cut the debts it took on to bail them out.

“Like anyone else I was seething with anger to hear those tapes and they do damage to our international reputation,” jobs minister Richard Bruton told broadcaster RTE said this week.

The Irish Independent has not said how it obtained the recordings.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that Ireland has fallen back into recession, dealing a blow to those who have cited the country as an example of how austerity can work.

A report from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office showed the country’s annual gross domestic product fell 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter.

GDP figures for the second half of 2012 were also revised downwards to show a one per cent quarterly fall in the third quarter and a 0.2 per cent drop in the fourth.

The figures put Ireland back in recession – officially defined as two straight quarters of negative growth.