The chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick, is being investigated by the Irish Stock Exchange over allegations of insider trading. The investigation will, of course, be a farce. The ISE, like the Financial Regulator, doesn’t really do regulation.
Fitzpatrick bought €1.1 million worth of Anglo Irish shares after talks had opened between the banks, the Financial Regulator, the Central Bank and the Government.
The banker turned a tidy little profit of €326,000 from the deal when Anglo Irish shares increased by 18pc after the Government bail out was announced.
Still, despite having nothing to fear from the ISE, Fitzpatrick was foolish to allow himself to be ambushed by Marian Finucane in a recent interview (Sat. 4th Oct).
Finucane very cleverly massaged Fitzpatrick’s ego by asking him how influential he was in the €400 billion government deal with bankers.
Fitzpatrick couldn’t resist asserting his self importance; here are some of his comments before he finally realised he was being set up by Finucane.
“I knew lots of things were happening because we had discussions obviously with the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator and the Dept of Finance over the previous weeks.”
“Well, I met the Dept of Finance officials and I met the Minister and clearly I spoke on a regular basis with the regulator and the central bank.”
Finucane asked him about his contact with Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan.
“I was explaining the difficulties and he was explaining the difficulties they had, there was lots of things being discussed by lots of people in different ways… We had to get the difference between what was happening externally and get that across and remove the issue about the bad debts…which we eventually did and he saw that very, very clearly.”
“What I was trying to do was explain the situation to him, we certainly exchanged ideas”.
Fitzpatrick finally realised he was being set up when Finucane asked him about a report in the Sunday Independent concerning allegations of insider trading. Suddenly, the banker wasn’t so influential.
“Did you have a sense that the Government was going to bail out the banks, asked Finucane?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Did you not know before hand that the Government was going to bail the banks out?”
“Of course I didn’t, that wasn’t out until Monday night.”
“But you had been talking to the Minister the previous week.”
“I had been talking to the Minister the previous seven days about various issues, about what he could do but I wasn’t sure what he was going to do..”
“Were the banks all talking to each other at this stage?”
“Not on a constant basis…there was no cohesive, no group meeting with the Government at all.”