Anglo CEO David Drumm joked: 'Another day, another billion'

  • 26 June 2013
  • From the section Europe
Anglo Irish building
Image caption Anglo Irish sought a government bailout in 2008

Anglo Irish Bank's former chief executive joked about the haemorrhage of funds from the bank hours before the state bank guarantee came into effect.

The Irish Independent reported on Wednesday that David Drumm said to a colleague "another day, another billion", referring to bank losses.

The revelations are contained in the so-called "Anglo tapes".

These are a series of leaked recorded phone calls from within the bank, published by the newspaper.

The tape contents have prompted a call for a swift inquiry into the bail-out of Anglo Irish Bank following the release of the taped phone calls.

The information suggests directors may have underplayed the colossal sum needed to fix the bank.

On Wednesday, the Irish Central Bank said it was studying the various transcripts of phonecalls very carefully.

"This is something that is viewed very seriously. The Central Bank will be liaising with the Gardaí (Irish police) in this regard and is also examining whether or not any breaches of regulatory requirements may have occurred arising from the information contained in the transcripts," the bank said.

Earlier, Irish Labour Party minister Joan Burton said the recordings had re-ignited people's frustration and anger.

She called on former prime minister Brian Cowen to reveal details of telephone conversations made on the night the Irish government bailed out the banks in September 2008.

Ms Burton said Fianna Fáil backbenchers who were in government at the time and Mr Cowen, the former party leader who would have taken the late-night calls from banking chiefs, needed to speak out.

"Can he tell us exactly what happened in it, can he find a mechanism to just come forward and say what happened and what did he know?" she asked.

The paper said the tapes showed Anglo management tried to stay a step ahead of the regulators while struggling to keep the bank afloat.

The newspaper also quotes former prime minister Brian Cowen saying that he was very surprised about the content of the recordings.

'Axis of collusion'

The revelations published so far have prompted calls for a swift inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the state bank guarantee.

The controversy is expected to be raised during Leaders' Questions in the Irish parliament in Dublin later on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said the inquiry would have to look into what he called the "axis of collusion" between Anglo Irish Bank and Fianna Fail - the ruling party at the time of the financial crisis in 2008.

Mr Kenny said on Tuesday that the public must learn the truth of Anglo Irish's collapse.

Executives at the centre of the row denied they misled regulators.

The recordings, from 2008, include conversations about how the bank went about receiving 7bn euros (£5.9bn) of bailout funds. The bank ended up needing much more.

Anglo Irish was the first Irish bank to seek a government bailout.

It ran into trouble after lending tens of billions of euros to property developers before the collapse of the property market.

A government rescue package eventually cost Irish taxpayers 30bn euros ($39.4bn; £25bn) and the bank was nationalised in 2009.

The banking crisis led to Ireland having to ask the International Monetary Fund and the European Union for a 85bn euro bailout in 2010.

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