Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Cowen and Fitzpatrick golf outing. A good talk oiled?

OK.  The chairman of a basketcase bank that loaned billions – much of which it had borrowed - in unsustainable loans to developers and investors to inflate a speculative property bubble, plays golf with a certain basketcase country’s prime minister.

Months later, that country’s government introduces a blanket guarantee for the yet-to-be-announced-insolvent banks, which makes the taxpayer responsible for all of the bad debts they had accrued during the Government-property-tax-break-fuelled boom.

But the two events – the golf on the broad links and the gulf in the bank’s loan books – were unconnected.  Sure.  Or perhaps in a country like Ireland, reknowned for golden circles and clientism, it is perfectly acceptable to have prime ministers who are on golfing buddy terms with bankers, property developers, and other business interests?

I mean, Cowen himself even got in on the buy-to-let act at one stage with a property in Leeds. Strange one that... you might have expected him to take advantage of his own Government’s Section 23s?  You can be sure that others did.

But whatever about that, Cowen swears blind his cosy, golfy, relationship with Fitzpatick (and what were his relationships with other bankers/developers?) had nothing to do with the bank guarantee.

In contrast, Fitzpatrick might be less likely to underestimate the commercial possibilities of a game of golf.   In a new book called the Fitzpatrick Tapes, by Tom Lyons and Brian Carey, the disgraced banker - who considers himself to have been made a public scapegoat for all that happened - cites three of his favourite sources of investment advice:  

The Financial Times website, The Economist, and… erm, golf.

It's more than just a game, it seems.

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anna said...

Dear Gm man, I’m resuming legal studies, but I need to request help-: There once was cause and effect.
E.G. : Cause; Scumbag amoral banker gives billions to rich developer friends
Effect: A WHOLE COUNTRY BANKRUPT- with poorest heartbroken, their future, children’s future and Grandchildren’s future decimated.,
Verdict:15 yrs hard labour, jail also for associates, major overhaul of Irish banking with rigorous inspections and harsh legal penalties for any banking transgressions and also their auditors**- I Rest my case m’lud,, I rarely saw such blatant theft.
NOT SO: The major suspect Isn’t guilty- It Wasn’t him- see below - could someone tell me who it Was Then?? I am Cluedo less here!!
( Ernst & Young, auditors of Lehrmann Bros are being sued in USA by those who lost money- due to their creative accounting showing Lehrrman was solvent… I seem to remember Anglo’s accountants found they were a very healthy bank…Their accountants skills must be as rusty as my legal ones seem to be)

see below

anna said...

“Former Anglo Irish boss says sorry but no mea culpa”
Lisa O'Carroll in Dublin Monday January 10 2011

The disgraced former boss of Anglo Irish Bank has broken his silence about the collapse of the bank that brought Ireland to its knees, apologising for the suffering he has caused but says he doesn't feel "ashamed" about what happened.
Sean Fitzpatrick, who was declared bankrupt last year, insists he is "one of the biggest victims" of Ireland's financial collapse and that he does "not deserve the punishment that has been inflicted" upon him.
Fitzpatrick was once the poster boy of Irish banking, fuelling the property boom that symbolised the Celtic Tiger. Now he is a hate figure in the country after the bank's reckless lending policy led to nationalisation and a bailout that could ultimately cost the state ?35bn (?29bn).
"I am very happy to put my hands up. I am very happy to apologise to all my creditors. I don't feel ashamed, but I do feel regret, very serious regret, and I am sorry that it is going to cause people losses. Anyone who has suffered on that, I really am very sorry," he tells the authors of a new book, The Fitzpatrick Tapes.
Fitzpatrick insists he is the scapegoat for the nation's ills and says he had no idea the bank was going to be nationalised back in January 2009 nor did he have any sense of the impending backlash against him personally.
"I had no sense of the ? what's the word ? the bitterness and the coldness and the anger and the whole sense of betrayal of this. [the public saying'] Fuck this, this is disgraceful, look at this guy Fitzpatrick, one of the architects or one of the starters of this whole economy, look at what he has fucking done. He has fucked us all'," Fitzpatrick told the authors."I had no sense of that at all, absolutely none."
Fitzpatrick reveals he was on his way back from a golfing holiday in Cape Town where he was trying to "relax" when he heard the bank was going to be nationalised ? his daughter Sarah in London had read it in a newspaper.
"There was no sense of that coming."
He had resigned from the bank one month earlier and thought the media interest would be "over by two or three days later".
Instead, he found himself constantly door-stepped by reporters, reflecting the public fury over Anglo, Fitzpatrick and other executives who had used it as a personal piggy bank

anna said...

Millions in loans were concealed from shareholders because they were "transferred" for two weeks a year in to another bank. He still owes ?110m to Anglo.
There was also widespread dismay at the time when it emerged that the bank had been propped up by a transfer of ?7.2bn from a rival bank, Irish Life and Permanent, in September 2008. These made Anglo's end-of-year results look better.
The book has already caused political controversy with the revelation that Fitzpatrick had played golf with Brian Cowen just two months before the bank was bailed out with the controversial bank guarantee.
The bank was already in deep trouble ? two weeks earlier Ireland's then richest man Sean Quinn had to sell off 15% of the bank, to a group of 10 investors put together by the chief executive, losing ?1bn in the process.
But Fitzpatrick says the deepening crisis wasn't discussed with the Taoiseach. What did they discuss: "The world, Ireland, the economy. I am not going to go into that now with you [it was ] absolutely nothing to do with Sean Quinn or with Anglo Irish Bank or anything like that."
In his interview with the authors of the book, two journalists from the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, Fitzpatrick says he wasn't the only one responsible for the mess.
He points the finger at the regulators, politicians and investors.
And he says more risks were taken by his successor David Drumm, who became chief executive of Anglo when Fitzpatrick moved upstairs to become chairman after three decades at the bank.
He says he was aware of the controversial share deal in which a group of investors bought bank shares from Quinn using loans from Anglo itself but says he hadn't approved it.
"I won't say I approved the plan, but I didn't disapprove it," he says. He adds he was then the chairman of the bank and was not involved in its day-to-day running.
"David wasn't welcoming me into this," he says.

anna said...

SORRY FOR COMMENTS BEFORE, WHICH IMPLY SEAN F has no shame, and never proposed any solutions for the huge crash he caused to the nations finances.
I forgot he proposed a solution to the problem, one only a Top Irish banker could have come up with :

When this crisis started 2 yrs ago, Sean was at a banking dinner( his halo hadn’t fallen much then- in fact he might even have been given an award, as this may have been just before he resigned,)
.Knowing a bail out had been agreed, he was in top form- and in his speech made out it was all a little blip for a blue chip concern like Anglo-
' It will be alright- the country will be ok- CHILD BENEFIT COULD BE CUT!!!'

I thought I would mention this, as this is 2nd most litigious society on earth, and I don’t want Mr Fitzpatrick to think I had overlooked his unique, thoughtful and eerily prescient contribution to improving our nation’s finances. As he said He is the Biggest Victim here- and yet he put some real thought into providing an ’Irish solution for ( yet another) Irish problem.’

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks for that Anna. The full Guardian article text you posted is instructive. There's are real sense of "who, me?" thanks to the impunity enjoyed by elevated wrong doers in Ireland.

Anonymous said...

Schutzstaffel na hEireann

Many years whilst being a caddy at an exclusive Golf club, I learned that big business is conducted there. It happens all over the world with business men and politicians. The golfing bags have pockets whereby “things’ are exchanged, usually large amounts of cash.

That is how business has always been done, and always will be. Mr Cowan is not a bad man, his problem is that he lacks panache and flamboyance. His awkwardness and clumsiness are the problem. Whoever replaces him will probably be a worse leader.

Kevin Myers sums it up in today’s Irish Independent. The secret and clandestine nature of Irish politics goes back to the beginning of the state, and even long before then.

As mentioned before in another blog: Ireland is a plutocracy where the about 2% of the population have the power to control everything; Fianna Fail aka Fianna Fascist (Schutzstaffel na hEireann) have the power, and they will keep it.

Do not be fooled that Fine Gael are any better. It is just a game where the rich rule, for the rich. The rest of the population are just a facility to keep the system going.

Anonymous said...

lets hope this is seanie's last card and that he will go to the pokie

Anonymous said...

Machiavellian Theatre

Changing Mr Cowen will not change the culture that bred this puss-filled carbuncle of iniquity (Today's Irish Independent). When Al Capone went to prison, crime still thrived. In Ireland there is a cynical superficial veneer of religious and social morality, but in reality there is wholesale political corruption with the acquiescence of the religious leaders and the people too. It is pure Machiavellian theatre like a renaissance principality. The rich rule; the poor obey.

The pathological presence of the Roman Catholic Church is ubiquitous. John Charles McQuaid under the auspices of the Vatican was the "Ghost Writer" of the Irish Constitution that is deeply flawed. The sickness of religious bigotry and superstition emanated from the poisonous pulpits of Roman Catholic Church is forever present in social attitudes and practices.

Until the people wake up to the truth about who holds power in Ireland, nothing will change. Even the people of Tunisia have thrown their leader out. Time to throw all the corrupt Irish leaders out and have a proper secular state, and start again.


anna said...

“Every dog has his say”
- so Seanie has had his-
And it Really did Inspire me to respond ( if I get a reply I’ll put it on GN, as a few million Irish people would like to see it)

FAO Sean Fitzpatrick
Whitsted Road
Co Wicklow

Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick;
"I didn't do it, no one saw me – and you can't prove a thing": the words of that LOVABLE 10 yr old scamp Bart Simpson- BUT hardly what you'd expect to hear from an Irish banker. Running a bank isn't a license to print money for you and your rich greedy and corrupt friends. You have responsibility to act fairly and responsibly to your fellow citizens ( remember us- who gave you Untold billions? of OUR Own Pay??).
However it seems that Just doesn't sink in with you. It's not really important that my public service pay has of about 38,000 been reduced by several thousands a year- All into your banks pocket. What about my friends, one( with less pay than me) with a sick wife whose hospital bills he had to pay. All the people who are suicidal and depressed, thousands and thousands of € in negative equity with no jobs to pay it. We all need homes- but only in Irish did rich scum decide that selling homes was a device to unjustly enrich themselves .
The Worst bit is the people who will die on hospital waiting lists- as our 3rd world health service was already impoverished-as it always been important for the government here to see that only the ordinary pay taxes- while the rich get a free ride.
Your grandchildren won't die on waiting lists : I gather you have managed to salt away a few quid to family members. So what about all the children at Crumlin hospital – who have had life saving surgery, cancelled? ALL to save you and your wretched bank.- and your family.
Actually I have had a prior tour of your new home- the cells in Mountjoy are not comfortable, no glass in the windows you know! I am just relieved they never got the money to built you a cushy new prison before all this happened. Gombeen chancers like you should be driven out of Ireland not jailed. And Not A Word of THANKS OR REGRET to the parents of those who will see their children and sick relatives die early-- because of you and your ilk .
PS- a paper copy of this will be sent with my full name and address- as I really want a reply telling me how you are one of the biggest victims in this- but I Will enclose a stamped envelope, as by your own admission you don’t seem to have 55 cents for a stamp.