Anglo revelations ‘stomach churning’ says Varadkar

Senior executives at bank were involved in ‘deception’ says minister

Revelations of the behaviour and attitude of Anglo-Irish Bank executives before and after the introduction of the bank guarantee in September 2008 were stomach churning, the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, has said.

Speaking in Dublin as he entered a road safety conference and announced new penalty point measures, Mr Varadkar said the behaviour of chief executive David Drumm and two senior colleagues, John Bowe and Peter Fitzgerald, confirmed that the bank had deceived both the government and the regulator.

“I’ve heard the tapes. I didn’t know that they existed and nobody in government did,” he said. “The content of them doesn’t surprise me in the sense that it confirms what we all expected in relation to Anglo Irish’s behaviour and how it deceived the regulator and others.”

He continued: “What did cause my stomach to churn quite frankly was the attitude of the people on the tapes - the arrogance, the avarice and the absolute contempt for the public authorities, That’s what really hit me. As people will be aware, at least three former members of that bank have been charged and prosecutions are pending.”

Pressed as to whether the tape recordings indicated possible criminal conduct, he said: “I really don’t want to say anything beyond that. I am conscious of a previous minister who managed to allow Charles Haughey off corruption charge by making comments.”

He hoped that the inquiry which the government says it will set up would, at the least, lead to the exposure of incompetence and cause embarrassment to some of those who failed to do their duty.

He said: “What people want is prosecutions but what I do know is that people can only be prosecuted for having committed a crime. I’m fairly sure that there lots of people in the banking system and in politics and in the public authorities who may not have committed a crime but were reckless, incompetent and did not do their jobs. They won’t be prosecuted but they could be dealt with by an inquiry. They could be exposed and embarrassed.”

The inquiry would be “up and running in the autumn” if passed by the Dáil and Seanad before the summer and sufficient preparations made, he added.