Moran walked at steady pace down email trail leading to sale of shares to ‘Maple 10’

There were no verbal fireworks as Anglo’s former chief financial officer ‘deciphers’ emails

Matt Moran (left)  and David Drumm, former chief finance office and  chief executive of  Anglo Irish Bank, pictured in 2006. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times

Matt Moran (left) and David Drumm, former chief finance office and chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, pictured in 2006. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times

Fri, Feb 21, 2014, 01:00

Brendan Grehan SC, for former Anglo Irish Bank director Pat Whelan, began his questioning of his client’s former colleague Matt Moran politely.

“I’d just like to go through a few emails,” Mr Grehan told Anglo’s former chief financial officer. He made a reference to Mr Moran’s immunity from prosecution both to the charges facing his client as well as any other “matters in the pipeline”.

“That could possibly be the case,” Mr Moran replied.

From 10.43am until the trial stopped yesterday, Mr Grehan questioned Mr Moran about various email trails, the occasional letter and the odd meeting. Everything took place at a steady pace without verbal fireworks.

One of these emails was from David Drumm – the bank’s then chief executive – to Mr Moran on Tuesday, April 19th, 2008, at 10.59am. The email revealed how the two bankers were racking their brains to come up with a way of dealing with Seán Quinn’s large position in Anglo’s shares held using a financial instrument called contracts for difference.

“We could look at selling Maple’s entitlement to hand- picked clients?” Mr Drumm wrote. Maple was the code name in Anglo for Quinn.

Mr Drumm outlined how the bank was then thinking of a project, called “Sleeve”, to issue more shares in the bank.

In his email, Mr Drumm said the new shares could be “put with five guys, not big dough, and could be loaned against existing collateral”. It would be a “real win”, he said, to place “some of Maple post-Sleeve with clients”.

Mr Drumm told Mr Moran it was “worth worrying through” how best to do this and get down Quinn’s stake to 15 per cent of the bank’s shares.

Mr Moran responded in an email saying: “I had similar thoughts pre-underwrite with Desmond types, very valuable I think.”

Mr Grehan asked Mr Moran to “decipher” what he meant. Mr Moran explained that doing a rights issue by issuing more shares would reduce Mr Quinn’s holding and bring new cash into the bank. This was difficult, he said, because of market conditions and the fact Anglo was only a small bank.

Mr Moran said “Desmond” referred to “Dermot Desmond and his investment vehicle”. He explained that it would give confidence to the market if Anglo had a strong backer who would not allow a rights issue to fail. Mr Grehan asked Mr Moran was it the case the billionaire financier “probably knew nothing about this?”

“No, no this was purely musing,” Mr Moran said. “Musing?” Mr Grehan asked. “Musing about the potential of approaching that type of sophisticated investor who might have knowledge of Ireland and was willing to take a view,” Mr Moran said. “And it never happened?” Mr Grehan asked. “That is correct,” Mr Moran replied.

In the subsequent hours, Mr Grehan took Mr Moran through many other documents and at times even put two up at once so that they could be compared.

Emails and other documents were clustered together around March 2008, when Anglo’s share price fell sharply, and again in July when its shares were eventually placed with 10 long-standing clients of the bank and six members of the Quinn family.