The (Irish financial) Wild West Show

The cracks are getting wider. Slowly but surely the international community is beginning to realise that Ireland is a corrupt state.

In today’s Irish Times, in an excellent analysis of the Cologne Re fraud, Justin O’Brien reveals how Ireland, through the office of its so-called Financial Regulator is increasingly seen as a rogue (financial) state.

The details and background of the case in question can be ignored when reading the article. What is important to keep in mind is that the fraud was organised from Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), recently referred to by the New York Times as the “Wild West’.

In Australia, both executives involved in organising the fraud have been barred from the Australian insurance industry. In the US, one of them is facing a jail sentence. The so-called Irish Financial Regulator has done nothing. It will not even say if it is investigating the matter. (Which means, of course, that it is not)

‘Ifsra would not say whether it was also investigating this transaction, but said it was monitoring Cologne Re from a “fitness and probity perspective.”

Here are just some selected comments/phrases from the article that will give an indication of how the international financial community views a major financial conspiracy hatched in Dublin’s financial “wild west’ – that Ifrsa is apparently just happy to “monitor’.

Dublin…weakest link in the enforcement firmament.

..perceived enforcement weakness (in Ireland) represents a major problem.

…disturbing picture of regulatory incapacity in Ireland

…the response of the regulator in Dublin has been unconvincing – to say the least – in the face of emerging evidence.

“wild west of European finance”

“shock and dismay that Ireland had abdicated its responsibilities for short-term advantage”.

“good luck to Ireland if it thinks it is going to get away with it, but it won’t”.

…wider regulatory community, which now perceives Dublin as a rogue market