Who are the Anglo Irish Ten?
The unfolding drama of Anglo Irish Bank has dominated political debate in the Dáil today, with both main oppostion leaders, Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, quizzing Cowen about it.
The main subject of speculation, rumour and postulation (I know, tautology central) centres around the identify of the ten investors who were granted loans in order to buy share capital.
Kenny and Gilmore were both specific. When did the Taoiseach find out and did he know the identity? Cowen was very subdued (indeed so was Demspey sitting beside him). He said that as Minister for Finance he was advised of the “overhang” created by shares accumulated by Sean Quinn under contracts for difference. That happened in March.
The next advice he got, said Cowen, was in July when he was told that the situation had been resolved and shareholders had invested. He indicated he wasn’t told the number of investors.
It was only when a due diligence exercise was being conducted of Anglo Irish with a view to recapapitalisation in the New Year that this issue came to the fore and the true nature of the “investment” became known.
Cowen said he did not know the identity of the ten, now or then. He said he only became aware of the arrangment when he was informed of it during the due diligence process. This and other issues of governance prompted the Government to nationalise the bank, according to Cowen.
The other substantial issue that’s come to the fore is that the Financial Regulator’s office seemed to accept the legal advice from Anglo Irish Banks that it was all kosher, without gettings its own independent advice.
This is going to run… maybe long enough – if we are unlucky – to run us all into the ground.