I don’t get it.
Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche says that the 10 Golden Circle members to whom Anglo Irish lent €451 million to buy its own shares, and who now apparently are having €300 million of that debt written off, cannot be named, even to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, who is now the sole shareholder.
He says “It would completely undermine the confidence of customers generally in Anglo Irish Bank if the Minister as shareholder could obtain access to confidential customer information.”
He also denies that the government is protecting or trying to shield any of the ten.
It shows how unwilling government ministers are to appear in public these days that Roche was sent out to bat at all. A man so popular in his (and my) own Wicklow constituency that this poster
appeared at the Bray roundabout at the last election, he wasn’t let out of his box at all during the Lisbon Treaty campaign, despite being the one Minister who actually knew anything about it, because he annoys people so much with his pomposity and vanity. Now the rest of them are hiding behind him.
Anyway, if this people were ordinary customers carrying out a normal transaction, Id agree with him totally. And even in the case of this dubious transaction, I would have agreed that they shouldn’t be named until someone has decided that what they did was illegal, if they had paid the money back.
Because we now own Anglo Irish, and if someone has had €300 million that’s due to us simply written off, then we have the right to know who.
This, remember, is the same Anglo Irish Bank who just last month won an order repossessing the home of former Smart Telecom chief executive Oisin Fanning. The loan was to purchase shares in Smart, which are now worthless, just as the Golden Circle loans were for Anglo Irish shares, which are now worthless. There doesn’t seem to have been any problem naming him. Nor was the any problem pursuing him for his loan, even though he was left holding worthless shares.
So why is it not possible to name these guys (you just know none of them are women), not for dodgy dealing, but for loan defaulting?
Or is Dick suggesting that, as the weeks go by, each Monday Lenihan gets a report from Anglo Irish saying “sorry, boss, we’d to write off another half billion this week,” and when he says “Sweet Jesus, who from?”, they’ll say “sorry, you know we can’t tell you”.
How would that restore confidence? How would that placate the people? How would we ever find out if any of the Directors, including Seanie, have their loans written off?
Come off it, Dick. we own this bank, the ten owe this money to us.
If they want to stay hidden, let them pay it back.