Banking inquiry: Banks sent developers skiing ahead of crash

Property tycoons list perks in Oireachtas statements

Property developer Gerry Gannon.

Property developer Gerry Gannon.


Trips to the 2008 Ryder Cup in Kentucky, hospitality at the Monaco Grand Prix, and skiing holidays were just some of the perks lavished by Irish banks on property developers Gerry Gannon and Peter Cosgrave in the years leading up to the crash, according to statements published yesterday by the Oireachtas banking inquiry.

Both men, who are not required to appear before the inquiry to give testimony, detailed how AIB took them to the Ryder Cup match between Europe and the United States at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.

The US won the match, which concluded just eight days before the then government’s decision to issue a blanket bank guarantee to the six domestic banks, including AIB.

In addition, Mr Gannon said he received a trip to Venice with Anglo Irish Bank, which also took him to a race meeting in the Curragh.

Mr Cosgrave lists golf days with AIB, Bank of Ireland, EBS and Ulster Bank in the UK, France and the US, trips to the Irish and British Open golf tournaments with Ulster Bank, horseracing at Punchestown and Leopardstown with AIB and EBS, and a visit to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe race meeting in Paris courtesy of Bank of Ireland.

‘One-off ski trip’

He also attended the opera and theatre with Ulster Bank and was treated to a “one-off ski trip” with the subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland. Mr Cosgrave attended the Monaco Grand Prix and US Masters golf with AIB.

Both men praised the National Asset Management Agency in facilitating the continuation of their businesses.

Mr Gannon said debts associated with his companies at the end of September 2008 were €214 million in Ireland and £22.3 million in the UK.

He has built 140 homes in Dublin in the past 18 months and detailed plans for another 9,100 units in the capital.

Mr Cosgrave is co-owner of Cosgrave Property Group, which had debt of just above €2 billion in late 2008.