Noonan: Banks 'should be on alert' to give recorded calls to inquiry

Noonan: Banks 'should be on alert' to give recorded calls to inquiry

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has warned the banks they must be prepared to hand over tapes of internal conversations regarding the bank guarantee and bailout.

The minister said a parliamentary inquiry into the banking collapse may examine electronic data saved from all the banks involved in the bailout – and not just those unearthed from the toxic lender Anglo Irish Bank.

“It is practice always to record calls in and out of the treasury, the treasury department of a bank, for obvious reasons when you think about it,” Mr Noonan said.

“So I assume there are calls in and out of treasury in the other main banks as well and I think the banks should be on alert, if they weren’t before, certainly from today, that this electronic data may be required by the Oireachtas inquiry committee.”

Anglo’s former chief executive David Drumm was forced to apologise after several tapes of recorded phone calls, published by the Irish Independent, showed him and other senior bankers laughing and joking about the toxic lender’s imminent collapse.

The recordings date back to the period around September 30 2008 when the then-Fianna Fail-Green Party coalition brought in a crippling 440 billion euro guarantee for all the Irish banks.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed a banking inquiry will be held in the autumn to establish exactly what went on between the former government and the banks during the time of the collapse.

Mr Kenny confirmed the finance minister would send letters to the banks tomorrow informing them they have a responsibility to hold on to their tapes.

“The Minister for Finance will be writing to those banks tomorrow setting out the position that the tapes be preserved in the interests of being available for a banking inquiry,” he said.

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