Moran sets out efforts to deal with Quinn CFDs
Ex-Anglo chief financial officer has been given immunity from prosecution
Matt Moran, the chief financial officer of Anglo in 2008, dealt with investor relations, and one of his jobs was ‘to market the story of the bank’. Photograph: Collins
At 2.26pm, Matt Moran, the former chief financial officer of Anglo Irish Bank, entered the box quickly up a short ramp that passed directly behind his fellow former Anglo bankers, Seán FitzPatrick, Patrick Whelan and Willie McAteer.
He took two bottles of water with him into the stand, but chose to sip instead from a jug provided by the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Senior counsel Paul O’Higgins for the prosecution told the jury Moran had been granted immunity from prosecution in relation to the charges facing his three former colleagues in this trial as well as in respect of other matters that might be prosecuted in the future.
Moran told the court he joined Anglo in September 2002 and his background was in corporate finance.
O’Higgins asked him to speak “a tiny bit slower” as he ran through his CV.
Moran said his job with Anglo included “marketing the story of the bank”, as well as working on its management accounts and advising it on acquisitions.
Moran said he reported into McAteer as chief financial officer and he was never a director of the bank’s board.
“I worked closely with Mr McAteer . . . I had a good working relationship with him.”
Moran said he left Ireland in 1990 to do an economics degree in the University of Wales, qualified as an accountant in 1997 with Arthur Andersen, and worked for a time in New York.
He said in 2007 there was “a lot of noise in the market” that Seán Quinn had build up a position in Anglo using contracts for difference.
Moran said in “late 2007 or early 2008”, David Drumm, Anglo’s chief executive, showed him a “piece of paper” that outlined Quinn’s position, which was “somewhere in the 20s [per cent of the bank’s shares that Quinn held via CFDs].”
Moran then outlined how he understood when banks ran into trouble it was its shareholders who took the “first loss” before various debtholders, bondholders and depositors.
He outlined in detail the various attempts by the bank to deal with Quinn’s position in its shares, particularly from March 2008 onwards.
These included various scenarios that had been outlined previously by other witnesses, including doing a rights issue or striking a deal with Rabobank to take over its Irish arm ACC Bank in return for the large Dutch bank’s broader support.
One option the bank pursued, he said, was a roadshow in the Middle East in March 2008 to try and convince a sovereign wealth fund to buy Anglo’s shares.
Moran said when he was travelling by car on this roadshow with David Drumm between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he overheard a conversation. “David Drumm had a call from the regulator. I believe that to be Pat Neary. ”
Moran said he could not hear what was said at the other end of the phone line, but from what he heard “[Drumm] informed Mr Neary that we were on the roadshow with investors but that it was difficult to place and too early to judge or something to that effect.”
Irish business person
Moran also said: “There was mention of an Irish business person who had an institution behind him.”
Moran did not say, nor was he asked, who this individual was.
He said Drumm also discussed approaching “five individuals” to support Anglo prior to July 2008, but gave no detail as to their identities.
Another initiative put forward was the “dribble mechanism” to release a small portion of Quinn’s CFD position on to the market each day, while trying not to affect the share price, Moran said.
If Quinn had followed through on this, it would have “significantly reduced his position over the following months”, he said.
Asked if the bank eventually forced Quinn’s hand, he said: “I cannot say Anglo forced his hand. But in May, when the dribble mechanism was considered, it was his inaction that meant
the dribble failed to occur.”
Moran said he had borrowed from Anglo to buy its shares in order to exercise share options as they came up.
Right to sell
Moran said he “requested” the right to sell his Anglo shares that summer too, but was “requested not to do so by Mr Drumm”.
At the time he said his position in the bank meant a share sale would have had to be disclosed to the market.
He said Drumm later asked him to buy more shares in Anglo in order to show “confidence in the bank” when he was talking about it to its various shareholders.
Moran will continue his evidence this morning.