John Bowe profile: ‘De facto’ leader of Anglo’s treasury
Recorded phone conversations with David Drumm revealed attitude to ILP loans
John Bowe: told Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick that “we have a big funny with Permo”. Photopraph: Collins Courts
John Bowe studied accounting and finance in Dublin City University until 1986. He joined Standard Chartered Bank (Ireland) Ltd as a graduate trainee. In 1990 the business was acquired by West LB and about this time he began working with corporate clients.
In 1997 he left West LB and joined ABN Amro Bank. In late April 2001, he joined Anglo Irish Bank as head of debt capital markets. This was a new treasury subdivision and his role was to attract funding from professional investors who purchased bank bonds for an agreed return, and to set up a banking relationship team to develop business with the approximately 350 banks worldwide that Anglo dealt with.
Bowe was largely on his own and began recruiting staff internally and externally. He reported directly to Willie McAteer. In the summer of 2006 he was appointed to Anglo’s senior executive board, with Matt Moran and Peter Fitzgerald.
Judge Nolan said Bowe was a lesser figure to the other accused in the management hierarchy. He was not a company director. He told the jury that by the start of 2008, treasury was run by Bowe’s colleague Matt Cullen, Fitzgerald and Bowe, but by September, Bowe had assumed “de facto leadership of treasury”.
In September 2008, Cullen told Bowe about a conversation he had with his ILP counterpart, David Gantly, in which Cullen told him they might be looking for more than €5 billion in deposits. He said Gantly told him it wouldn’t be a problem because “you might be well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb”.
The jury heard a number of phone calls which involved Bowe and his then chief executive David Drumm. On September 19th, Drumm asked Bowe about whether they had to “cash back” the “six billion from ILP” and Bowe said Yes. Three days later, Drumm called Bowe to tell him: “By the way, bigger picture. 30th September, even with the six billion fixes which Mr f***ing Denis confirmed for me this morning . . . we’re f***ed.” Bowe agrees.
Drumm then asks Bowe: “Are you going to be able to bloat the balance sheet . . . over year end with short-term inter- bank and all that sort of stuff and shove it into liquidity?”
In another call on September 29th, Bowe told Drumm and McAteer about the “€6 billion fix” with “Permo”, saying that “what happens is the money goes round in a circle”.
On September 30th, Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick phoned Bowe to congratulate him on his efforts on a day when the bank had experienced record inflows of cash in the wake of the guarantee. FitzPatrick asked Bowe if there were “any funnies” in the year-end figure.Bowe replied: “We have a big funny with Permo.”
He told gardaí the term was slang used by FitzPatrick and he didn’t correct it. “Clearly it was an out-of-the-ordinary trade,” he said. “I believe it was an unfortunate use of words.”
Bowe continued to work with Anglo, which became IBRC in 2012. There he was part of a team dealing with the restructuring of the Quinn Group loans. He gave a number of voluntary statements to investigators in 2010 and 2011 and took part in Garda interviews under caution in July 2012. In December 2013, he was charged with the conspiracy to defraud charge.