Recorded phone conversations key to several inquiries

Tapes quoted in recent Quinn affidavit

Recordings of phone conversations, email correspondence and tens of thousands of documents form the bedrock for several inquiries and court actions being taken against Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Recordings of phone conversations, email correspondence and tens of thousands of documents form the bedrock for several inquiries and court actions being taken against Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Tue, Jun 25, 2013, 01:05

Recordings of telephone conversations, email correspondence and tens of thousands of documents form the bedrock for several inquiries and court actions being taken against Anglo Irish Bank.

Because the bank’s dealings over the phone with customers, traders and others were recorded in a transparent and ongoing manner, a system was set up whereby calls made using phones in certain divisions were automatically recorded.

The family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement are among those who have copies of some of the recordings.

Discovery orders
The copies were handed over as part of discovery orders secured by the Quinns in their actions against the former bank, while the authorities have copies of recordings relevant to inquiries they are conducting.

Mr Quinn’s daughter Aoife Quinn referred to a number of such recordings in an affidavit for the High Court earlier this year as part of the family’s effort to have the Central Bank and Minister for Finance joined as defendants to the family’s case against the bank.

The former Anglo (and subsequently Irish Bank Resolution Corporation) executive, John Bowe, is among those whose taped conversations are referred to.

Consternation
Mr Bowe was dealing with matters involving so-called margin calls on a Quinn shareholding in the bank which was causing consternation within Anglo during 2008. In a conversation with then chief executive David Drumm on April 22nd, 2008, he said: “When the [Anglo] share price falls we should think the share price is just falling. Instead of that we think, ‘F**k, we have to write cheques now.’ ”

Because the Quinn investment was by way of contracts for difference, more money had to be paid each time the share price fell.

In a conversation three days later, Mr Bowe told fellow executive Willie McAteer, in another internal phone call quoted by Aoife Quinn: “Willie, David [Drumm] called and he just kind of updated me on [then taoiseach Brian] Cowen and the board meeting . . .”

The family are claiming the issuing of loans by Anglo for these margin calls was illegal and that for this reason they cannot be held liable for the hundreds of millions of euro involved.