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Tue Jun 25, 2013, 08:19 AM

Irelandís disastrous bank bailout emerged from bankerís ďarseĒ

By Simone Foxman

Want a government bailout? Itís all about getting taxpayer skin in the game, according to phone conversations between two senior managers at the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank, which were released over the weekend by the Independent.

In September 2008, the Irish government stepped in to serve as the lender of last resort for the nationís banks, offering a Ä400 billion guarantee meant to bolster faith in Irelandís troubled financial system. Later that year, it pledged another Ä10 billion to the worst-hit lender, Anglo Irish Bank. The bailouts were part of a scheme that ultimately put the entire country at risk of bankruptcy and forced Ireland to take its own bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

But the phone conversations between John Bowe, then head of capital markets for Anglo Irish, and Peter Fitzgerald, formerly head of retail banking, indicate that bankers deliberately deceived the government about the extent of Anglo Irishís financial problems.

The bank had asked the state for Ä7 billion to help it make payments as funding in global markets dried up. But Bowe said of the figure: ď picked it out of my arse.Ē


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