No ‘smoking gun’ in Anglo tapes, Honohan says
Central Bank governor says recordings did not contain enough evidence for prosecutions
Governor Patrick Honohan going into the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance in Dublin today .Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Patrick Honohan said the leaked recordings, which involved senior figures at the toxic lender as they prepared to secure an initial bailout, did not contain enough evidence for prosecutions.
“We have an obligation to inform the relevant authorities of a suspected criminal offence and apparently, because there is nothing more really than the telephone conversations, it’s not a sufficient evidential basis on which to ground a suspicion of a criminal offence,” Mr Honohan said.
The Central Bank announced yesterday that it would not be sending any more files to the Garda fraud squad on suspected criminality at the now-defunct rogue lender.
Mr Honohan told the Oireachtas Finance Committee that while the tapes contained a “game plan” there was no evidence of the executives in question following it up.
Mr Honohan said he originally believed the tapes may have contained new evidence — when they were first published by the Irish Independent over the summer.
“I wanted to use the opportunity to dampen down any collateral damage abroad, so I used the opportunity to do that, which was a good opportunity,” Mr
“I said ‘yes, there is new information here’. So now, why does it turn out we are not doing anything? “While to the ordinary person out there it looks like there is something here, there isn’t a smoking gun.”
Mr Honohan said the bankers’ behaviour exposed in the tapes was “outrageous” but not enough for a court.
He said the Central Bank wanted to keep the public well informed following its review of the tapes, which officials have been studying since they first entered the public domain in June.
“We felt we owed it to the public not to pretend that we have sufficient new evidence of criminality, saying we’re working at it when we don’t,” Mr Honohan said.
“We owed it to the public to say we looked at this thing, we looked at it but we don’t have anything. We are not slow to go to the gardaí with suspicions of this or that.
“In this case we have nothing new. It doesn’t mean something else might be coming up or something else going on. It was because we wanted to communicate fair and square with the public.”