Fianna Fáil Spokesperson of Finance Michael McGrath has said the tape recordings reported in today’s Irish Independent of a conversation between senior Anglo Irish Bank executives in 2008 should be referred to An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).
Deputy McGrath commented, “I listened with shock this morning to the tape recording of a conversation in mid-September 2008 between Anglo Irish Bank’s then Head of Capital Markets and Director of Retail Banking Peter FitzGerald about the impending bailout of the bank.
“At this point, we don’t know whether the Gardaí, DPP or Director of Corporate Enforcement is in possession of this or other tapes from around the time of the bank bailout though one would assume all tapes are available to the authorities. The content of this tape is unquestionably relevant to the various investigations that are underway and it needs to be referred to Gardaí and the ODCE immediately.
“Any suggestion that the taxpayer was lured into bailing out Anglo Irish Bank under a false impression about the State of the bank’s financial condition is deeply disturbing and has to be fully investigated by the authorities. We need to get to the full truth about the way that bank was run and the level of knowledge the bank’s executives had about its true financial position in September 2008.
“Almost five years on from the banking crisis, it is beyond frustrating for ordinary citizens that no one has yet been held accountable before the law for their role in the crisis. Material centrally important to the investigations is now beginning to leak into the public domain and this makes it all the more important that the formal investigations get to the truth sooner rather than later.
“Another issue that these tapes demonstrate very clearly is the need for a comprehensive inquiry into the banking crisis. The Government has so far failed to initiate any form of inquiry, but ministers have talked many, many times about their desire to inquire into the ‘night of the bank guarantee’.
“The conversation revealed this morning shows that such a limited approach would be a major mistake. Any inquiry needs to examine the full circumstances in the lead up to the decision to guarantee the banks and must have access to the sort of material that the Irish Independent has uncovered this morning.
“One question for Government arising from today is whether the model of inquiry currently under consideration would have had access to these tapes and whether it would be in a position to compel their release. Now that we know such evidence exists, it is critical that any inquiry being established has the power to access it.”