Anglo Irish Bank’s subsidiary in Austria linked to secret deposit schemes
Austrian bank sought business from firm that set up offshore trusts for customers
Anglo sold the Austria private banking business to a Swiss broker Valartis in 2008 making a profit of €49 million. The bank itself part-funded the Swiss firm’s €141 million purchase of the Austrian subsidiary with a loan of €24 million.
The deal was signed off on December 19th, 2008, the day chief executive David Drumm resigned and a day after the departure of chairman Sean FitzPatrick, who stood down over his concealment of multimillion director loans at the bank.
The sale of the bank and the loss of the €600 million in deposits held in the Vienna-based subsidiary was seen as odd at a time when the bank was trying to hold on to deposits and raise fresh funding as the financial crisis was worsening.
One former senior Anglo banker said Mr Drumm had been uncomfortable about the Austrian bank and the source of its deposits, and feared that it might have drawn Anglo into a tax evasion controversy, perhaps involving US customers.
The official reason given to investors for the sale was that it formed part of the bank’s disposal of non-core assets to focus on lending in Ireland, Britain and the US, and its wealth management business in Ireland and Britain.
Cross-border Mafia claims
It emerged in 2010 that the Austrian bank had been drawn into an alleged €2 billion cross-border Mafia money-laundering racket in a case taken by Italian public prosecutors who claimed that the subsidiary was one of three banks used to move money from a telecoms firm in Italy between 2005 and 2007.
Anglo was nationalised by the Government in January 2009. The Irish property crash left the bank nursing heavy losses forcing the Irish State to cover the shortfall with a €29 billion bailout.
Secret files on offshore companies
A single computer drive loaded with more than 2.5 million files on offshore companies and trusts led to a 15-month investigation by journalists around the globe that has revealed secret financial dealings of people.
The cache of files obtained by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, led by Irish journalist Gerard Ryle, has shed light on more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts set up in the offshore tax havens of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean and the Cook Islands in the south Pacific.
The database includes the names of American doctors and dentists, Wall Street executives, eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian oligarchs and international arms dealers.
The Washington DC-based non-profit investigative organisation gave The Irish Times exclusive access to the database of records ahead of the scheduled public release of the database tomorrow.
The names of more than 40 individuals and companies with registered personal or business addresses in Ireland are listed in the database. They range from a former billionaire businessman to investment managers, from accountants to solicitors, and from fishermen to company executives. Most of the records date back to the early and mid-2000s and a number of the Irish individuals involved in the offshore companies, trusts and partnerships are now deceased.