No evidence of ‘smoking gun’ in Anglo tapes
Governor of Central Bank tells Oireachtas recordings insufficient for prosecution
Patrick Honohan: he told politicians that while the tapes contained a “game plan” there was no evidence of the executives in question following it up. Photograph: David Sleator
Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan has described the behaviour of bank executives in the controversial Anglo tapes as “outrageous”, but said the material contained no “smoking gun” with regards to criminality.
Speaking before an Oireachtas finance committee meeting yesterday, Mr Honohan said the leaked recordings 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 told politicians that while the tapes contained a “game plan” there was no evidence of the executives in question following it up.
One recording, published by the Irish Independent, outlined how bosses were ordered by former chief executive David Drumm, now based in the US, to go to the Central Bank with “arms swinging” and demand a multibillion-euro bailout to prevent a bank collapse.
“While to the ordinary person out there it looks like there is something here, there isn’t a smoking gun,” Mr Honohan said. “We are looking for a link between the phone conversations and communications with the Central Bank.
“We don’t have evidence of them following up on their game plan.”
The Central Bank issued a statement on Tuesday saying it would not take any further legal action arising from tapes released of conversations between former executives at Anglo Irish Bank.
“The Central Bank has examined Anglo’s interaction with the Central Bank at the time in relation to this matter.
‘Suspected criminal offences’
“No new issues have been identified that relate to suspected criminal offences having occurred and, as a result, the Central Bank does not intend, and is not required, to make any further statutory reports of suspected criminal offences to An Garda Síochána or the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in relation to this matter,” it said.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday said he shared the public’s disgust at the content of the Anglo tapes but felt that a public inquiry was still the best way to investigate what happened in the banks.
Asked about the Central Bank’s decision not to file additional reports to the Garda and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement over the Anglo tapes, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said he hoped a public inquiry could be held into the causes of the banking crisis following the passage of new legislation.
“I hope now that it will be possible for an inquiry to be put together where the elected members of the people will bring before it the people who made various decisions and various comments including the comments we have heard on the Anglo tapes,” Mr Gilmore said at the United Nations in New York.
“I think that should be done in public because, at the end of the day, this is the people’s business.
“It’s the people of the country who have suffered as a result of what happened in Irish banking and policy decisions that were made,” said the Labour leader