Anglo’s dealings with Department of Finance seem curiouser and curiouser
Draft letter fully answered queries while final letter did not
Change “was made on foot of an internal review by Anglo Irish Bank”. Photograph: Frank Miller
In the application made by the family of Seán Quinn last week to have the Department of Finance and the Central Bank joined as co-defendants in the case they are talking against IBRC (formerly Anglo Irish Bank), some of the documents opened in court were from the period in early 2009 just after the nationalisation of Anglo. Among these were the following (the Ann Nolan referred to was and is a senior department official:
(i) A draft letter from Donal O’Connor, then chairman of Anglo, to then minister for finance Brian Lenihan, dated February 3rd, 2009, in response to a formal request from Lenihan on January 28th, 2009, to O’Connor to provide immediate and full clarification on the extent of lending by Anglo for the purposes of all share acquisitions and all contracts for difference (CFDs); (ii) minutes of a meeting at the department on February 3rd, 2009, attended by Nolan, and two others from the Department of Finance; O’Connor, Fiachre O’Neill and Natasha Mercer, all of Anglo; and Pádraig Ó Ríordáin and two others of Arthur Cox solicitors; (iii) the formal letter of response to Lenihan from O’Connor of February 4th, 2009.
The draft letter of February 3rd, 2009, contains the following sentence: “As requested, I enclose a report on the extent of lending for the purposes of share acquisitions and contracts for difference generally and Anglo shares in particular.” This seemed to be precisely what Lenihan had requested in his letter of January 28th.
The minutes of the meeting of the same day have the following references:
(a) “Lending Against Bank’s Shares: DO’C [Donal O’Connor] provided a draft of the letter which is proposed will be sent to the Minister tomorrow in response to his letter received late last week. AN [Ann Nolan] agreed to read the letter and revert with any comments.”
(b) “Summary actions: AN [Ann Nolan] to read draft letter from the Bank to the Minister re loans against equities and revert with comments.”
The letter from O’Connor dated February 4th, 2009, does not contain the sentence stated above: “As requested, I enclose a report on the extent of lending for the purposes of share acquisitions and contracts for difference generally and Anglo shares in particular.” Instead it has the following: “We [ie Anglo] do not lend for the purpose of taking positions in contracts for difference.”
That statement may have been technically correct but was potentially misleading. It failed to answer the question posed by Lenihan on January 28th asking for “full clarification on the extent of lending by Anglo for the purposes of all share acquisitions and all contracts for difference”.