Claims Lenihan mocked 'inaccurate'


The Department of Finance has described as inaccurate a newspaper report which alleged Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan was mocked by City of London investors during a conference call.

The report alleged that a call between Mr Lenihan and hundreds of investors rapidly descended into farce, forcing Citigroup, which hosted the call, to pull the plug.

The Daily Telegraph
said Mr Lenihan had been speaking for less than two minutes yesterday before a mistake by Citigroup meant that the bank's clients were all able to be heard on the line.

It said some traders were making "chimp sounds" and that another cried out "dive, dive".

The Telegraph reported that the call descended into chaos, with one participant heard to say "this is the worst conference call ever", before Citigroup officials shut down the line.

A Department of Finance spokesman said the reports were incorrect.

“The Minister was not interrupted as reported by the Telegraph. There was no heckling - indeed participants congratulated the Minister and the NTMA.”

He said a number of media organisations were on the call and that none of these “offered a similar analysis to the Telegraph which was not on the call”.

“At the end of the call, spreads on Irish bonds narrowed which indicated that the 200 investors on the call were reassured,” he said.

The cost of Irish debt improved by almost a quarter of 1 per cent yesterday.

Mr Lenihan participated in the call following the Government’s announcement of a final estimate for the cost of the Anglo Irish Bank bailout, which it said would be at least €29.3 billion.