Elaine Byrne and judge Nolan: Clueless regarding the reality of white-collar crime

What do corruption expert Elaine Byrne and the Anglo trial judge have in common?

Both of them are utterly clueless about the reality of how things are done in our corrupt state.

Byrne tells us that our poor white-collar crime laws must be overhauled.

Despite writing an enormous tome on the subject of corruption she remains blissfully unaware that it is the State itself that is corrupt.

It is the State that ensures that those who inhabit the Golden Circle are protected from the laws that are rigorously enforced against ordinary citizens.

She seems blissfully unaware that the State will never, ever act against white-collar crime because the State and the white-collar fraternity are joined at the hip; they are both members of the same corrupt club.

The evidence for this fact is overwhelming and is outlined in great detail in her book.

Judge Martin Nolan seems to be similarly clueless of the connection between white-collar crime and the corrupt political/administrative system that (mis) governs the country.

We can see this from his comments.

I am totally surprised that the regulator did not give some warning to Anglo Irish Bank.

It seems to me incredible that the regulator did not take advice from other state agencies. I find it incredible that red lights didn’t go off in the office.

Like Ms. Byrne he seems to be totally unaware that the so-called Financial Regulator/Central Bank does not regulate at all when it comes to white-collar crime – ever.

I don’t mean light touch regulation; I mean zilch, zero, Nada regulation when it comes to crime within the Golden Circle.

To be genuinely surprised by the behaviour of the so-called Financial Regulator judge Nolan would have to be completely unaware of the decades long failure of the various so-called Financial Regulators to act against white-collar criminals.

And perhaps that is the case, perhaps he is so unaware.

Copy to:
Elaine Byrne
Financial Regulator

Shock horror – The Anglo duo have got off scot free

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, to see the Anglo Irish executives getting off scot free for their crimes.

Ah no, I’m only joking. Here’s what I wrote April 22 last.

The two former directors of Anglo Irish Bank who were found guilty of providing illegal loans to ten businessmen to buy shares in the bank could face up to five years in prison.

William McAteer and Pat Whelan will be sentenced on 28 April next.

Will they sent down for five years? – definitely not.
Will they get four years? – No.
Will they get three years? – No.
Will they get two years? – No.
Will they be thrown in the slammer for 12 months? – No.
Six months, anybody – No.
A month? – No.
A week? – No.
A day? – No.
What then?
Maybe community service and a small fine – maybe.

Patrick Neary: A warped mind-set that is by no means unique

I have reproduced below the full text of an article in today’s Irish Times by Vincent Browne regarding the evidence given by former Financial Regulator, Patrick Neary, during the recent Anglo trial.

The article is very important because it clearly illustrates just how rotten our political/administrative system has become over recent decades.

Neary makes no attempt whatsoever to give rational replies to questions. He is supremely confident that he can say whatever he likes, no matter how ridiculous.

He knows with an arrogance bred over a long and disgraceful career that nobody, no individual, no regulatory authority, no legal authority; no State authority can touch him.

His attitude of supreme immunity from accountability sees him treat the court system and by extension the State with total contempt.

His warped attitude towards his own self-respect and the good of his country is by no means unique.

A significant percentage of those wielding power and influence in our corrupt state operate with the very same warped mindset.

The meetings not noted, the questions unasked

Vincent Browne

On Thursday, March 13th, last, Patrick Neary, the former financial regulator, gave evidence at the Anglo trial about a meeting he had with David Drumm, then chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank on September 12th, 2007.

The meeting occurred on the day after Drumm and Seán FitzPatrick (then chairman of Anglo Irish Bank) had heard from the businessman Seán Quinn that Quinn had amassed, indirectly through contracts for difference (CFDs), a 24 per cent shareholding in the bank, a situation that imperilled the viability of the bank and the Irish financial system as a whole.

Arising from that revelation, the Anglo board, according to a number of its members, directed Drumm to meet and inform the regulator of the precarious situation that had transpired. There were two meetings with Neary – on September 12th and September 27th.

No recollection

Neary had no recollection of a second meeting with Drumm. He was asked by a defence counsel, Michael O’Higgins, if he had kept a note of the meeting on September 12th, 2007, with Drumm, the meeting that he did recall. Neary said he had not kept a note of the meeting.

Asked if he kept notes of meetings in the normal course of his business, he said he did but in this case Drumm had asked could he drop in to see him as there was something he wanted to discuss privately.

It was “a special meeting of a personal nature that was [what was] conveyed to me before [Drumm] came in”.

Q: “Well I would regard personal nature like I’m having problems at home or where I’m going on holiday. I take it we’re not talking about that?”

A: “Well it allowed for that possibility.”

Q: “It did, did it?”

A: “Yes it did because I had no idea what kind of an issue a chief executive of a financial institution might come and raise with me .”

Q: “Well, could it have something to do with finance – rather than trouble at home ?”

A: “Oh, it could be to do with anything, but I got the impression that – from Mr Drumm – that this was very much an informal chat he wanted to have with me .”

Also in his evidence on Thursday, March 13th, last, he said Drumm expressed concern at that meeting about rumours “about possible holding of CFD positions against shares in the bank . . . That Mr Quinn may have held up to 10 per cent of the shares in the bank by way of CFDs”.


He said Drumm was “worried that perhaps the CFD holdings by Mr Quinn was even bigger than that but he had no way of finding out and he wanted to see what information, if any, that the authority had or was there any way we could find out”. He insisted Drumm did not inform him that Quinn’s CFDs position amounted to 24 per cent.

Neary had a meeting with Quinn subsequently, in January 2008. He was asked:

Q: “Did you ask him [about his CFD position in Anglo] ?”

A: “Well I didn’t – I didn’t ask him straight up.”

Q: “Yes?”

A: “I came about it in a way that there’s talk you may have some CFD positions, and he responded that he had CFD positions in Ryanair and in Anglo but they weren’t very large and he didn’t intend to hold them . . .

Mr Quinn is entitled to, as a private citizen, to have all the investments he wanted to have and I respect that and I didn’t feel that it would be fair or appropriate for me to tackle a person about his own personal investment portfolio.”

Neary also gave evidence about his office’s supervision of how Anglo was dealing with the crisis caused by Quinn’s CFDs, a crisis that he acknowledged in his evidence was a threat to the entire financial system.

No records

He was asked by defence senior counsel Brendan Grehan if he had kept any records of information he was receiving from the second-in-command in his office, Con Horan ( then prudential director at the regulator’s office.

He replied: “No, I did not”.

Q: “Not even as much as a diary note?”

A: “No, I did not .”

Q: “A memo?”

A: “No memo, no record whatsoever.”

Q: “Something for the file?”

A: “No record whatsoever. I believed Mr Horan would give details of what was going on for the file and would maintain the records .”

Q: “Well the strange thing , maybe just a coincidence, is that Mr Horan, it would appear, didn’t make any record or doesn’t have any record, save for a note he prepared . . . in advance of the [regulatory ] authority meeting of 23rd of July . He thinks he prepared it perhaps a day or so before that.”

A: “Okay.”

Q: “So he doesn’t have any records and you don’t have any records either?”

A: “No, I don’t have.”

© 2014 irishtimes.com

Twenty year later: We're still waiting for real financial regulation

From the Attic Archives Irish Times 25 June 1994


The concern expressed by the banking community at the prospect of regulation by the Director of Consumer Affairs could be well founded.

I recently discovered that my bank had been overcharging me for its services.

On the reasonable presumption that my experience was not unique and that there might be, as the judges say, a lot of this sort of thing going on, I wrote to the Central Bank suggesting improvements in the format of bank-statements.

I also suggested that banks, like other providers of goods and services, should be required to invoice customers for bank-charges before they dipped into their customers’ accounts.

I subsequently received a letter from the ‘Credit Institutions Supervision Department’ of the Central Bank, informing me that the Central Bank “would have no objections” if the banks were to revise their procedures.

No wonder the banking community is quaking in its well-heeled boots at the prospect of losing the protection of such an amenable ‘regulator’.

Yours etc.,

Peter Murray
Co Cork

Points to note from this 20 year old letter:

The so-called Financial regulator did not regulate financial institutions at that time, it was a free for all.

The fact that there was no financial regulation whatsoever allowed financial institutions to engage in widespread criminality.

The decision by the corrupt political/administrative system to allow the rampant growth of our Wild West financial culture played a major role in the widespread improvishment of millions of Irish citizens post the 2008 crash.

And, most importantly, the exact same culture exists today. There is no effective financial regulation in Ireland.

Will the Anglo directors go to jail – not a hope

The two former directors of Anglo Irish Bank who were found guilty of providing illegal loans to ten businessmen to buy shares in the bank could face up to five years in prison.

William McAteer and Pat Whelan will be sentenced on 28 April next. Will they sent down for five years? – definitely not.

Will they get four years? – No.

Will they get three years? – No.

Will they get two years? – No.

Will they be thrown in the slammer for 12 months? – No.

Six months, anybody – No.

A month? – No.

A week? – No.

A day? – No.

What then?

Maybe community service and a small fine – maybe.

The new so-called Financial Regulator is just as incompetent as the previous so-called Financial Regulator

Once again AIB has ‘accidentally’ overcharged customers.

After investigating itself the bank concluded that the whole affair was just a minor incident, an accident.

The standard apology was issued and customers were assured that nobody would be out of pocket.

Happy days.

Except for the inconvenient fact that AIB is one of the most corrupt financial institutions in the state with a long record of criminality, which saw the theft of countless millions from customers, and the State.

Since the economic collapse in 2008 citizens have been constantly assured by politicians, government officials and bankers that a new dawn in financial regulation has arrived.

Going forward, we were told, the Financial Regulator would regulate with an iron fist, immediate and searching investigations would be conducted at the slightest hint of wrong doing, the law would be forcibly applied without mercy to protect the consumer.

With this in mind I rang the so-called new Financial Regulator this afternoon to ask about its involvement in this latest ‘accident’ by AIB.

No, (The Financial Regulator is not involved) AIB is investigating the matter and when completed and everything is resolved there would be no reason for the Financial Regulator to intervene.

We don’t’ know exactly what the situation is, it may be just a computer glitch, we don’t have a lot of information on exactly what the situation is.

We are aware that some people have been overcharged but no doubt they will be reimbursed.

So here’s the reality. The so-called ‘new’ Financial Regulator is operating in exactly the same manner as the previous regulator. That is, it’s not actually regulating at all.

The banks are still allowed to investigate themselves and if that results in the theft of millions, well tough shit, customers will just have to suck it up.

Copy to:
Central Bank

Noonan: As ruthless as ever

The liquidators of the Irish Nationwide/Anglo Irish Bank mortgage book, Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG, are only doing their jobs when they push for maximum profit from any deal.

This from KPMG:

We can only do the best we can in the circumstances. Be aware of the fact that our ultimate objective is to get the best price we can for the assets of the bank.

The Minisiter for Finance Michael Noonan, does, however, have a responsibility towards the thousands of mortgage holders who are likely to find themselves at the mercy of ruthless vulture capitalists in the near future.

Indeed as a public representative and senior minister he posses the power, given to him by the people, to decide the ultimate fate of these desperate citizens.

But Mr. Noonan is a ruthless and callous individual and, to date, he has given no indication that he’s going to help.

Indeed, it seems that Noonan and KPMG are attempting to throw these people to the vultures while, hypocrically, trying to give the impression that they’re doing everything they can to help.

We had the recent announcement by KPMG that bidders had agreed to protect homeowners. In other words, they had voluntarily agreed to abide by the Central Bank’s code of conduct on mortgage arrears.

If true, it would be like putting a paedophile priest in charge of a children’s school while giving assurances that all would be well.

And, of course, that’s how it turned out when it was revealed that the so-called agreement was nothing but a puff of air.

There was nothing in writing, no supervision, no Central Bank involvement, no sanctions, no acces the the Financial Ombudsman and no guarantee that mortgage holders could buy out their own loans.

Noonan’s promises were just as hypocritical and just as useless.

Legislation to protect mortgage holders in such circumstances would be introduced – sometime next year.

Or, in other words – long after the vultures have picked the bones of their victims.

Copy to:

Enforcing tax law: Depends on whether you're rich and powerful or a peasant

Last Tuesday Pat Kenny (59 Min) interviewed an official from the Revenue Commissioners on how the organisation intended tracking down those homeowners who were suspected of cheating on their property tax obligations.

The official was very professional. Pat put question after question to him and all were answered without hesitation, without any dithering regarding the law surrounding property tax.

Listeners were left in no doubt whatsoever that unless they obeyed the law to the letter Revenue would track them down and they would pay the price for their sins.

It should be noted however that such clarity, such efficiency, such determination to enforce the law is strictly confined to ordinary citizens.

When Revenue officials are interviewed about the rich and powerful they use a completely language.

We hear about constitutional considerations, about rights, about contracts, about legitimate expectations but most of all we hear about complexity.

The taxation system in Ireland is actually quite simple.

For peasants its: Pay up or suffer immediate consequences.

For the rich and powerful its: We will do our very best to minimise your tax and we will protect you on the rare occasions when you are actually caught stealing from the State.

Former chairman of the Revenue Commissioners and current chairman of NAMA, Frank Daly provides a perfect example of how the State treats the rich and powerful and how it treats the peasants.

Here are his views regarding the bogus accounts scandal of some years ago.

On ordinary bank holders (The peasants who broke the law):

Bogus account holders must be held answerable for their actions regardless of any encouragement given by the banks.

They had knowingly concealed earnings from Revenue and must pay for their actions.

On banks and bankers (The rich and powerful):

For reasons of practicality, it had been decided to seek the repayments of DIRT from the banks rather than to attempt to apportion blame.

Aggressively pursuing the banks would have resulted in a stand-off and a lengthy legal battle.

We had to go about this in a pragmatic way. Had we done otherwise, the shutters would have come down.

Central Bank: A lackey for the political system

I see the Central Bank has, yet again, been caught out in a lie.

Earlier this week the bank announced that there was a fall in the numbers in mortgage arrears for the first time in years.

UCC economics lecturer Seamus Coffey has revealed that the Central Bank’s figures are useless as they fail to take into account mortgages that originated in this country but were sold by Bank of Scotland.

What’s going on here is as simple as it is dishonest.

The Central Bank is nothing but a lackey for the political system. It has no credibility as an independent, professional institution. Its principal mission, as always, seems to be to do the bidding of its political masters – at the expense of Irish citizens.

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Central Bank