Quinn family claims are outrageous

Patricia Quinn and her children are claiming that the huge loans made to them by Anglo Irish Bank are invalid because they are tainted with illegality.

Obviously these claims are untrue.

I’m sure that if state authorities were aware of even the slightest hint of wrongdoing by those responsible for running Anglo there would be hell to pay.

It’s been three years now since Anglo got into trouble and not a single official has been charged with any wrongdoing

So obviously these outrageous claims are nothing more than sour grapes by the Quinn family.

Construction Industry Federation DG, Tom Parlon, blusters but doesn't explain

A board member of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has made some very serious allegations against the body (Sunday Independent).

The allegations, made by Jerry Beades, include:

That around €30m from the CIF pension scheme is controlled by senior CIF and trade union officials unknown to the membership of the CIF and employees who make contributions.

That the CIF has shown a blatant disregard for safe accounting and that the matter should be investigated by the Pensions Ombudsman.

That large sums have been collected which are not used for pension-contribution purposes.

The Director General of CIF, Tom Parlon, is not at all happy with Mr. Beades and has accused him of making wild allegations without foundation.

He accused Mr. Beades of showing a total lack of respect for the chair of the meeting, the integrity of the officers of CIF and the private business affairs of individual members

He demanded that Mr. Beades should conduct himself in a professional and civil manner at CIF meetings and that he apologise in writing to fellow members for his behaviour at a meeting last week.

The curious thing is that, apart from a lot of bluster, Parlon doesn’t actually deny or explain any of the serious allegations.

Financial Regulation: Secrecy and obfuscation still the weapons of choice

The Custom House Capital (CHC) false accounting and fraudulent trading scandal is a very serious matter but, unfortunately, not a rare event in Ireland.

What should be of much greater concern to the people of Ireland is how this scandal has exposed the lie that financial regulation has been reformed and is now fit for purpose.

Soviet style secrecy and obfuscation are still the principal weapons employed by the Financial Regulator to prevent even the most basic information concerning its activities being made public.

The Financial Regulator claims it carried out an investigation into CHC in 2009 and found nothing more than some supervisory, compliance and organisational issues.

It was only when an outside agent became involved, in this case a company that had bought a section of CHCs business, that the fraud was uncovered.

The failure of the Financial Regulator to detect major fraud within a company that it was, allegedly, investigating raises some very serious questions.

In my opinion there are four possible reasons for this failure in regulation.

1. There was no investigation in the first place and the Regulator is now lying to cover up its failure.

2. There was an old style, pre financial catastrophe investigation. This would involve much drinking of coffee, hours of friendly chat with an occasional glance at some minor aspect of the business under investigation and the compilation of a report that found everything was just hunky dory.

3. Financial Regulator staff are so incompetent that they failed to uncover what Appian Asset Management immediately uncovered on taking over CHCs books.

4. There was a serious investigation and serious fraud was discovered but a cover-up strategy was adopted by the Financial Regulator.

This last possibility is most likely to be the truth.

Irish citizens know, to their great cost, that it is quite common for so called regulators to cover up fraud and criminality within the financial sector.

The DIRT and Ansbacher frauds are just two of the more serious examples of this strategy.

The crucial point arising from this particular scandal is not just that white collar crime is still tolerated by state authorities but that the same old strategies of secrecy and obfuscation are being employed to, effectively, protect the guilty.

Copy to:
Financial Regulator

CHC fraud: Liam O'Reilly's evidence

Liam O’Reilly was the Property Fund Administrator with Custom House Capital when the company was engaged in false accounting and fraudulent trading.

I have been assured by the Financial Regulator that this is not the same Liam O’Reilly who once held the position of Financial Regulator.

Here’s some of Mr. O’Reilly’s evidence.

Liam O’Reilly – Property Fund Administration – 3pm on Monday 18 July.

4.2 Sworn testimony to Inspectors.

The witnesses called by the Inspectors were asked to describe the Destiny structure, comment on whether they were aware of a process whereby funds from one sub-trust may have been used to fund the expenses of another or others and asked who authorised such payments..

Further on in the evidence of Mr. Liam O’Reilly

Q. Right. Okay. The problem being some are under water.

A. Exactly. And the money isn’t there. It has been very, very difficult the last few months

Q. All right. Okay. So in the context of I suppose the clients statements in relation to — well, the areas that you’re familiar with, Liam, are — would it be true to say that some of those clients, their unit position there is not really reflecting the true position if — if the pooled accounts were pulled apart?

A. I sign off on them and I stand over it, you know. They’re 100 percent accurate. The issue is, if that client, you know, wanted to sell his property in the morning, and maybe there was a cash balance of 100,000 in one of these accounts, it may be difficult in getting that out.

4.4 Conclusions

The Inspectors are of the view that the practice of using available cash balances on the pooled cash accounts to pay invoices and other expenses of individual sub-trusts, particularly those of the larger commercial/syndicated trusts, was pervasive within CHC for a considerable time.

Unit holders in the affected sub-trusts would not be aware that this was taking place having regard to the pooled nature of the cash accounts and the fact that in any statement issued to them by CHC their holdings in the trusts would be reflected as units held.

As each trust would appear to be a separate legal entity, the problems in resolving this issue will be most acute in relation to those trusts which a) in aggregate owe money to the pooled accounts and other trusts, b) have little cash holdings in their own right and c) have poor or negative cash flows.

A thorough analysis of each trust’s transactions will be required.

Based on the testimony received and the forensic examination the practice would appear to have existed for some time within CHC.

The scale of the problem appears to have increased to some extent in 2011.

The CHC fraud proves that there is no effective financial regulation in Ireland

Prior to the collapse of Ireland’s economy in 2008 there was a universal belief that Ireland possessed a functional financial regulatory system.

Subsequent to Ireland’s economic collapse there was a universal belief that light touch regulation was the core factor in bringing about the catastrophe.

Presently there is a universal belief that financial regulation has been radically reformed and is now fit for purpose.

All of the above beliefs are false.

Ireland has never enjoyed the benefits of real financial regulation. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact.

No financial institution or official has ever been charged with a crime despite the theft of countless millions over the decades.

Ireland did not suffer from light touch regulation; it was destroyed because there was no effective financial regulation whatsoever.

So called regulators knew about most of the major crimes committed over the years, like DIRT and Ansbacher, but did nothing.

When the media and whistleblowers (the real regulators) uncovered crimes that the Financial Regulator was not aware of no significant action was ever taken against the criminals.

As I write Irish citizens are continuing to suffer great losses because there is still no effective financial regulation in Ireland.

If what we are told by politicians, government officials and so called regulators is true, then the people involved in the Custom House Capital fraud would, at the very least, be under arrest.

That the people involved in this fraud are still walking around, enjoying the same rights and freedoms that law abiding citizens are entitled to, proves that there is still no effective financial regulation in Ireland.

Custom House Capital specialised in pensions for wealthy customers and managed investments of about €1.5 billion for about 1,400 clients.

The firm also invested in property in France and Germany on behalf of clients.

The company misused €56 million in clients’ money to cover up troubled property deals.

A report on the matter submitted to the High Court states:

There was a systematic and deliberate misuse of assets and cash belonging directly or indirectly to clients of CHC.

This misuse was deliberately disguised by CHC through the use of false accounting entries and the issue of false and misleading statements to clients.

The High Court ordered all reports on the matter to be sent to the Director of Corporate enforcement, the DPP, the Garda Commissioner and Revenue.

The so called Financial Regulator investigated CHC in 2009 after somebody noticed a strong odour coming from the company but, predictably, found nothing of great import.

Some managerial changes were recommended and the matter was dropped.

It was only when another company, Appian Asset Management, had taken over the non-property investment assets of CHC that serious concerns were raised.

It was only after this company acted that the so called Financial Regulator took any significant action.

Let’s repeat these facts as starkly as possible.

In 2009 the so called Financial Regulator carried out an in-depth investigation into CHC and found that, apart from some supervisory and organisational issues there was no significant problems with the company.

Here’s what the Regulator decided to do.

Following the identification of these supervisory concerns, related to compliance and organisational issues, the strategy was to encourage CHC to identify and engage with potential buyers for the firm, which would be the best outcome to protect client investments and funds.

CHC took that advice and shortly thereafter sold part of its business to another company, Appian Asset Management.

It seems that this was an attempt by CHC to off load that section of its business where the fraud occurred while holding onto its property assets.

Remember, this is, effectively, what the Financial Regulator advised.

The crucial point in all this is that a company that wasn’t engaged in any investigation easily discovered major fraud in a company that had just been investigated by our so called reformed and fit for purpose Financial Regulator.

It should also be noted that CHC was heavily engaged in fraudulent activity in 2009 when the Financial Regulator was, allegedly, investigating the company.

One of the victims of this CHC/Financial Regulator scandal precisely summed up my views on this matter (My emphasis).

I would like to see some criminal charges against those involved.

I would like to see an action taken against the Central Bank (Financial Regulator) because they were protecting the firm when they should have been protecting the consumers.

As I say; there is no effective financial regulation in Ireland.

Copy to:

Financial Regulator
Dept. of Finance
Director of Corporate Enforcement
All political parties

Niall O'Dowd: Completely fooled by David Drumm

Niall O’Dowd is an Irish American journalist and author, he’s also a very gullible individual.

He spoke to Marian Finucane (Sunday) about an interview he conducted earlier this month wth former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, David Drumm, in which the disgraced banker poured his heart out.

Now, the first question that any competent journalist would ask himself is – what’s this man’s agenda, why is he so eager to speak to a journalist?

O’Dowd never noticed that he was being used and fell for Drumm’s bullshit hook, line and sinker.

Some quotes:

He wanted to make his side of the story plain; I think he felt he had been the victim of a witch hunt in Ireland both in the media and personally.

He wanted to give an interview to a journalist in America rather than in Ireland, he was more comfortable with that scenario.

I’ll bet he was and he made a good choice – an obviously uninformed and naïve journalist.

What I was looking for Marian was the human story because behind all these great scandals there are lives and that’s what I tried to bring out in the interview.

I think you’re looking at a guy in very deep anguish for all the obvious reasons.

What was interesting to me was his very deep sense that he was one of many yet he felt he’s been singled out.

Ahhhhh, wouldn’t your heart be broken listening to such tragedy?

Gallagher's illegal loan – so what's new?

What’s the big deal about Sean Gallagher’s illegal loan to himself?

Such breaches of company law are rampant in Ireland; they are part and parcel of everyday business activity.

It is only because Gallagher is currently in the spotlight that the matter raises an eyebrow at all, if he wasn’t a presidential candidate his law breaking would never have been noticed.

His Fr. Ted excuse (the money was just resting in my account) that the money was ‘accidentally’ lodged in the wrong account is also par for the course.

In Ireland, when people of power and influence break the law they simply plead that it was a mistake and all is forgiven.

So called regulatory authorities never, ever pursue these people preferring to conserve their powers and resources for any ordinary citizen who might have the audacity to step out of line.

Bankrupt Anglo investigates 'Fingers' Fingleton's watch

Alan Dukes was on the radio over the weekend explaining to the Irish people how he and his bank are determined to get that watch back from ‘Fingers’ Fingleton.

It doesn’t get more bizarre than this.

Dukes is a strong defender of the rotten political system that allowed bankers and developers to bankrupt the country.

He’s a strong defender of Anglo Irish Bank, the institution that played a major role in the destruction of the country.

Countless billions down the drain, countless lives ruined; the country in receivership and this moron and his bankrupt bank are investigating a watch.

The watch cost about €20,000 including tax and, according to Dukes, this is a very substantial amount of money.

If €20,000 is a very substantial amount of money how, I wonder, would he describe the €34 billion that Anglo Irish Bank has cost the taxpayer?

Anglo’s chief executive, Mike Aynsley, wrote to ‘Fingers’ asking him to please return the watch and the €1million bonus he received on retirement.

Aynsley (hilariously) warned that the bank wouldn’t be infinitely patient, as if there was anything he could do if ‘Fingers’ decides to hold onto the watch and the loot.

Betting on the future of humanity

Many years ago I came to the conclusion that, as a species, humans are doomed to self destruction. The only question is; will we take the rest of nature down with us.

The seemingly unstoppable destruction of the environment, on which we depend for our very existence, was the principal reason for my pessimistic conclusion but recent events on the global financial market have added to my despair.

When the Murdochs were being quizzed before a Parliamentary Committee a television channel was simultaneously broadcasting a live graph indicating how the markets were responding to the event.

So when Murdoch Snr., for example, said something negative the graph took a tumble but when Murdoch Jnr. gave a positive answer the markets shot up again.

When Murdoch’s wife leapt to his defence after he was attacked by a pie wielding assailant the markets went up. The television commentator explained that the markets were probably impressed with her gutsy response.

This is an absolutely insane way to run a planet but that is the frightening reality.

Just two individuals, out of the seven billion that inhabit the planet, can have devastating effects on the fate, happiness and prosperity of countless thousands by uttering a simple sentence like:

This is the most humbling day of my life.

The fate, happiness and prosperity of billions of people, businesses, countries and even the very stability of the planet itself depends, to a large extent, on a tiny group of people betting on how events might effect their profits, it’s like playing Russian Roulette with five bullets in the chamber.

We witness some of the most powerful people on the planet responding to the current crisis with pathetic pleas to the market. Please believe us, you’re being unfair; tell us how we can please you.

What’s required, of course, is a completely new global system that allows people to prosper, to make all the money they want but without endangering the entire planet – in other words, a strictly controlled capitalist system.

And, of course, the on-going financial crisis will have devastating consequences for the environment because the only solution being proposed to resolve the crisis is – growth, growth, growth and more growth.

This means that even the modest measures taken to date to slow down environmental destruction will be abandoned so that the looting of the planet’s very limited resources can continue to generate profits.