Brian Lenihan was asked on Prime Time why it was taking so long to see results from investigations into Anglo Irish Bank when the US authorities could charge, convict and send Bernie Madoff in six months.
He said he was frustrated that bankers haven’t been jailed yet, that there was a massive ongoing police investigation and he was confident that investigation would yield results.
The Minister is talking total, absolute, undiluted waffle. Let me repeat once again – nobody will be charged never mind face a jail sentence as a result of what went on at Anglo Irish Bank.
The so called ‘investigation’ is nothing more than the by now well established state strategy of delaying matters until the whole case can be quietly dropped.
The so called financial regulatory system that has long facilitated and protected the scumbags who infest the Irish banking sector is still in place.
The same attitudes, the same strategies, the same secrecy laws are still there and will be used to protect Fitzpatrick and his cronies.
Only a complete clean out of personnel and a revolutionary reform of the system will see standards come anywhere close to international norms. There is not the slightest indication that such reform is in the pipeline.
We can see that nothing has changed by simply analysing a recent report in the Sunday Independent on the Anglo Irish Bank investigation.
The many anonymous ‘sources’ quoted in the article are obviously government sources.
Sources (Garda) say they will not be in a position to make arrests and seek charges until next year at the earliest, because of the complexities of the case.
Sources say there’s a massive amount of paper and electronic documents to be examined so don’t expect any developments this side of Christmas.
So, very complex, mountains of documents to examine. The source didn’t specify which Christmas.
Gardai rejected comparisons with the Bernie Madoff case which saw him in jail after only six months. They point out that Madoff had been intermittently under investigation since the mid 1990s.
This is a pathetic attempt to convince that there’s nothing odd about Irish state and police investigations; that our standards are on a par with any country.
This is rubbish and the Madoff comparison is ridiculous. There had been a number of probes into the activities of Madoff which went nowhere but as soon as substantial evidence became available the police acted immediately and Madoff was put under immediate arrest.
There was immediate and clear evidence of wrong doing in the Anglo Irish case but instead of arrest Fitzpatrick was allowed to head off for a month on a golfing holiday in South Africa. Nearly a year later and we’re still waiting for the Gardai to bring him, or anybody, in for questioning.
The thrust of the Garda investigation is to gather sufficient proof to convince the Director of Public Prosecutions that there was “intent” on the part of Anglo Irish staff to commit offences and not, as they would argue, that there was simple incompetence.
Translation: It’s going to be extremely difficult to convince the Director of Public Prosecutions that anything illegal occurred. The DPP is answerable to nobody, his decisions cannot be questioned and he usually takes a number of years to decide in cases like this.
This is usually the point where all possibility of criminal charges is abandoned and the case is handed over to the safe house of Office of Corporate Enforcement where it will be allowed to harmlessly enter history.
With a total of only 65 investigators in the Fraud Bureau and the emphasis on the Anglo Irish investigation, sources say the bureau is under pressure to complete other high-profile fraud investigations.
They are also “completely snowed under” with credit card and other equally complex computer and internet frauds. The amount of fraud under investigation is so great that cases involving less than €200,000 have been temporarily sidelined, according to one source.
Translation: We would really love to press charges in the Anglo Irish case but unfortunately we just don’t have the resources.
A legal source told the Sunday Independent that the public’s expectation that those identified as being involved in alleged illegality in Anglo Irish should be arrested quickly was “unrealistic”.
He pointed out that fraud cases were notoriously complicated and the Gardai would only move to arrests when they had completed their case, proved intent and already had guidance from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Translation: The public are stupid and don’t understand that fraud investigations can be very complicated. The public are asked to ignore the fact that most other jurisdictions regularly prosecute fraudsters quickly and efficiently.
There is also relatively little experience here in investigating large-scale share manipulation. The largest case involving alleged share fixing to come before the courts was that of the DCC disposal of shares in Fyffes in 2000.
In fact, there is no experience whatsoever of investigating large-scale or even small-scale share manipulation in Ireland. The Irish Stock Exchange has never in its entire history prosecuted anybody.
We don’t even know if the ISE has ever investigated anybody because, like the Financial Regulator, it operates under an iron curtain of secrecy laws.
The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement never prosecuted, sources say, because the case would have had no certainty of success and would have “swallowed up all their resources” and would have faced a well-financed legal defence.
Prosecutions in the Fyffes/DCC case should have been taken by the Financial Regulator, the ISE and the Gardai – they did nothing. The case was left with the ODCE because his office has virtually no powers and operates on a pathetic budget of €5.5 million.
As I’ve said before the ODCE is nothing more than a safe house for dodgy people like Flavin where their cases are practically guaranteed to gather dust for years.
Gardai say they expect that well-resourced legal defences will be mounted in any cases arising from Anglo Irish.
Again, this is a standard marker that concern for taxpayer’s money may be used as an excuse for doing nothing.
Let me state once again – Neither Sean Fitzpatrick nor any of his cronies will ever be prosecuted; they will never be sent to jail.
Minister for Finance