Honohan: No criminal issues in Anglo tapes

The Anglo tapes did not expose any new issues related to suspected criminal activity, Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan has insisted.

The tapes provoked international outrage after they emerged earlier this year, but had no fresh legal significance, according to the country’s top banker.

Prof Honohan’s initial refusal to order the Central Bank to file a statutory report to the authorities over the contents of the tapes provoked uproar when he appeared before the Oireachtas finance committee at the end of September.

The governor was forced into an embarrassing climb-down on the issue and subsequently pledged he would communicate the bank’s official view to the gardaí.

At the hearings, Mr Honohan insisted that the tapes contained “no smoking gun” and that he “owed it to the public not to pretend we have sufficient new evidence of criminality”.

Responding to concerns expressed by members of the Oireachtas finance committee, Prof Honohan wrote to the body’s chairperson Ciarán Lynch, confirming he was engaging with the gardaí on the matter.

“I intend to share with An Garda Siochána, on a without prejudice basis, the Central Bank’s analysis of the issues arising in the tapes which led the Central Bank to conclude that no new issues have been identified that relate to suspected criminal offences having occurred,” Prof Honohan stated in a letter to the chairperson.

The exposure of the tapes led to worldwide publicity for the way Ireland’s most notorious financial institution, Anglo, was dealt with.

German chancellor Angela Merkel was among many leading figures to express her extreme unhappiness at the contents of the tapes.

Ms Merkel said that the tapes were “impossible to stomach”, adding: “I have nothing but contempt for this. The tone seems to be similar across all banks. It is a real damage to democracy,” she said.

“It is for us a huge challenge to convince people who get up every day and every day do their work and always pay their taxes, do everything, even show solidarity with other people who are weaker.

“All of this is destroyed by that and so I have nothing but contempt for that.”


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