Goodbody: Getting it wrong

From the Attic Archives

Ireland is on track for the softest of economic landings, according to Goodbody Stockbrokers in its latest economic report entitled Strategy 2001 (Irish Examiner 2000).

In light of what has happened in the mean time the final paragraph in the report is interesting.

With mortgage indemnity guarantees in place, lenders are well insulated against capital losses, unlikely though they may be.

In 2003 Goodbody confirmed its prediction (Irish Times).

In a review of the economy released on the day the Minister for Finance Mr McCreevy published the Government’s spending Estimates for 2004, the broker (Goodbody) says Ireland’s “soft landing” is now a reality.

Whatever happens; the Quinn family will be treated with respect

The first thing to be said about the Quinn contempt ruling is – No one will go to jail.

That’s not how things are done in Ireland. The Quinn’s are ‘respectable’, they’re part of the ruling elite of Ireland.

If they were sent to jail it would truly be revolutionary.

Revolutionary because it would be the first time in the history of the state that people of power and influence were actually dealt with in the same manner as ordinary citizens are dealt with when it comes to crime and punishment.

The judge has, apparently, three options. Jail, jail and a fine or a simple fine.

Her decision will depend on what deal can be worked out before Friday between the State, Anglo Irish Bank and the judge.

Everybody will be working away feverishly to work out a deal to save this ‘respectable business family’ from their own greed, arrogance and criminality.

And, of course, there will be no question of charging this ‘respectable family’ with something as ignominious as the crime of perjury.

Over the decades it has become clear that the crime of perjury only applies to the little people.

Here are some quotes from the judge regarding ‘truth telling’ in her court.

Sean Quinn’s evidence was not credible.

Impossible to accept the evidence of Sean Quinn Senior.

Sean Quinn’s son was not telling the truth.

The evidence of Sean Quinn’s nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn was most untruthful.

(The Quinn’s) have acted in a blatant, dishonest and deceitful manner.

They have consciously misled courts here and elsewhere.

The behaviour of the respondents outlined in evidence before me is as far as removed from the concept of honour and respectability as it is possible to be.

We can be absolutely sure, however, that the Quinn family will be treated with honour and respect with it come to handing out justice.

Sean Quinn: How is he going to manage?

It may be a beautiful day weather wise but I can tell you I spent the day sobbing and crying after hearing Sean Quinn’s evidence in court today.

I’m 65 and have never been involved in litigation, have never been in the High Court. Anglo bullied my out of my office, wrecked my business, wrecked my reputation, wrecked my country, took my pride and now want to put me in prison.

I tell you it would melt the heart of the most hardened banker.

I simply don’t know how this great man is going to manage on his remaining millions and massive mansion.

Battle for INM reaches end game

It looks like the battle for control of Independent news and media (INM) is reaching its end game.

This morning an anonymous buyer bought 13 million shares in the group.

RTE business editor, David Murphy, said the buyer couldn’t be Dermot Desmond, Denis O’Brien or the O’Reilly’s because they would have to notify the Irish Stock Exchange of any such purchase.

All I can say is – bless his innocence.

If Denis O’Brien and his pal Dermot Desmond win the battle the first casualty, apart from the current CEO Gavin O’Reilly, is likely to be the Editor of the Sunday Independent Anne Harris.

Harris wrote a trenchant article recently drawing attention to the dangers for press freedom if Denis O’Brien gains control. She expressed particular worry about O’Brien’s close relationship to Fine Gael.

The reason all this matters to the Sunday Independent is that we may be about to lose one of the most important tools of transparency – press freedom.

Take a government with an obscene majority, allow a media mogul who has influence – O’Brien makes no secret of his desire for influence – with the dominant party and before long it may not be just an appearance of the dictatorial.

Mr. Appleby or Mickey Mouse in charge of ODCE – No difference

The Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, is the latest high profile civil servant to announce his retirement in order to avoid losing pension and lump sum entitlements.

By leaving now Mr. Appleby will be paid a lump sum of €225,000 of which only the final €25,000 will be subject to tax. He will also receive an annual pension of €73,000.

RTEs Business Correspondent, David Murphy, who described Mr. Appleby as a ‘very important individual’ did his best to make it sound as if Mr. Appleby’s departure was an important event especially in respect of the ongoing ‘investigation’ into Anglo Irish Bank.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If Mickey Mouse is chosen to replace Mr. Appleby the outcome of the Anglo Irish Bank ‘investigation’ will be the same – nobody will be charged, nobody will be jailed.

Mr. Appleby has been in charge of this so called enforcement agency that has never, not once, managed to bring any significant charges against any significant individual or organisation in its ten year history.

The ODCE was established after a series of corporate scandals (read major corporate fraud and criminality).

It was established specifically to deal with corporate fraud and criminality, it has failed totally in its remit.

It has never, not once, managed to nail any significant individual or organisation despite the fact that financial fraud and criminality is endemic within the Irish financial sector.

The ODCE, in common with all other so called enforcement agencies in our blighted country, is a useless toothless tiger and like all other so called enforcement agencies is designed, effectively, to prevent white collar criminals being brought to justice.

As Mr. Appleby heads off into the sunset with his (lottery) lump sum and pension he may feel he deserves his rewards.

If he does then he’s delusional.

In common with many other senior civil servants who were charged with serving the best interests of the Irish people Mr. Appleby has failed in his duty.

Copy to:

Mr. Appleby

Custom House Capital: Victims still waiting for justice

I see the victims of the Custom House Capital fraud have been given until March 23 to apply for compensation.

Victims can claim up to a maximum of €20,000 which, of course, is mere chickenfeed in comparison to what has been lost.

Some victims have lost everything including their homes and any means of providing for themselves in retirement.

One woman lost close to half a million so twenty grand, if she gets that, will mean little.

Meanwhile, the fraudsters responsible are still walking the streets enjoying the same rights and freedoms as law-abiding citizens.

The Garda Fraud Squad is, allegedly, investigating the matter but victims would be strongly advised not to hold their breaths.

What we seem to be witnessing here is the usual response to alleged white-collar crime in Ireland.

The matter is shunted into a sideline allowing so called regulators; police and politicians to wash their hands of responsibility while the victims are left to suffer the consequences.

White collar crime: An easy thing in Ireland

A 47 year old man, Terence Maughan, has been jailed for one year for defrauding the state of €14,000 in dole payments.

Maughan, a father of six with no previous convictions, committed his crimes between 2008 and 2010.

State enforcement authorities left no stone unturned in their efforts to bring this man to justice.

An alert social welfare inspector noticed something suspicious and after confirming his suspicions by checking some CCTV footage he immediately called in the Gardai to assist in indentifying the culprit.

A joint Garda/Social Welfare surveillance operation was set up which resulted in the apprehension of the fraudster.

As I say, no stone left unturned. There followed prosecution, a court appearance and jail.

The presiding judge was in no doubt about the seriousness of the crime.

The court has a responsibility to deter others from embarking on the same crime.

Meanwhile, those responsible for the theft of €66 million in the Custom House Capital fraud are still walking around enjoying the same freedoms and privileges as law abiding citizens.

This multi-million Euro fraud came to light around the same time as state authorities were tracking down Mr. Maughan but, unlike Mr. Maughan’s case, there was no effective response by state authorities.

It is now four months since a High Court judge ordered all reports on the CHC fraud be sent to the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the DPP, the Garda Commissioner and Revenue.

Since then – Silence.

The judge who sentenced Mr. Maughan commented that:

Welfare fraud was an easy thing to do until now.

We can see from the CHC case and many other similar cases that white collar crime has always been and remains an easy thing in Ireland.