Ex-Anglo directors dispute evidence

Former Anglo Irish directors have contradicted bank inquiry evidence given by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his predecessor, Brian Cowen, about two key events in the lead-up to the economic crash.

Former senior bankers at the institution Matt Moran and Gary McGann said the politicians’ evidence is not accurate as it emerged that a separate investigation into whistleblower allegations of inquiry conflicts of interest has cleared anyone of wrongdoing.

Speaking at the inquiry’s latest public hearing, which will conclude with Finance Minister Michael Noonan next week, former chief financial officer Mr Moran said he spoke with opposition leader Mr Kenny in November 2008 about the economic crash and Anglo’s involvement.

The ex-banker, who was granted immunity by the DPP to testify in the recent Anglo Irish trial, confirmed he spoke to Mr Kenny in detail about what the bank needed to happen to help the economy. Mr Moran said the discussions included specific talks about the potential outcomes for Anglo and the possible need for Bank of Ireland to take over the firm for the State’s benefit.

At his own evidence earlier this summer, Mr Kenny said: “I was asked to take a call. He didn’t say anything of substance. I don’t recall mentioning anything about Fine Gael policy.”

During the same meeting yesterday former director Gary McGann said ex-taoiseach Brian Cowen met Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick at the home of Mr Cowen’s close friend and non-executive Anglo director Fintan Drury’s before the infamous July 23, 2008, Druid’s Glen round of golf.

Mr Cowen has previously said the discussion was held in “full public view”. Under questioning from Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, Mr McGann said the location was not “particularly relevant” and said the banking crisis was not raised as “it wasn’t on the agenda”.

Both issues are likely to lead to a fresh political spat, with Fianna Fáil saying Mr Kenny needs to clarify the very serious contradiction immediately and Sinn Féin saying Fianna Fáil itself has questions to answer due to the officially non-political inquiry.

Meanwhile, it emerged last night that a separate independent investigation into the bank inquiry over whistleblower allegations has cleared officials of any wrongdoing.

The report, which has yet to be published, was drawn up by barrister Senan Allen after the individual’s complaints were raised by Fianna Fáil senator and inquiry member Marc MacSharry earlier this summer — gaining significant attention 24 hours before ex-taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s appearance.

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