Identity of Anglo’s $1bn bondholders a mystery

THE identity of the bondholders who were repaid $1billion (€715million) by the Irish taxpayer on behalf of Anglo yesterday remains a mystery.

The Department ofFinance said the bank itself did not know who the money was repaid to because it was dealt with through agencies or clearing houses.

Under pressure in the Dáil yesterday to reveal who was paid the money, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “I do not know who they are. There is some anecdotal evidence of the categories of bondholders, be they pension funds, hedge funds or whatever.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the bonds had been selling at a discount on the secondary market when their value had dropped significantly based on the Government parties’ pre-election promises.

“Fine Gael and Labour’s promises to burn these bondholders actually drove down the price of those bonds,” Mr Martin said.

“Investors who bought those bonds will have doubled their money in the past nine months on the basis of commitments you made,” he told the Taoiseach.

Independent TD Shane Ross said traders who bought the bonds at a discount “decided the Government was going to sting the taxpayer, rather than sting them, and so they bought”.

He said the bonds were selling at 60 cent and those who bought them “made a profit of nearly 70% on the back of the Irish taxpayer”.

He asked Mr Kenny why he did not instruct the bank to buy back the bonds at a discount at that stage, which is allowed under market rules.

Mr Kenny later told the Dáil: “The answer is that Anglo Irish Bank and the state did not have the cash reserves to engage in buying back bonds because every cent the bank had was on loan from the European Central Bank.”

It is understood the Government did explore the possibility of a buy-back earlier in the year.

Socialist TD Joe Higgins said it was “shameful” the taxpayer was denied “this most fundamental information”. Sinn Féin’s Pádraig McLoughlin said: “If the Taoiseach cannot tell us who these bondholders are, can he please tell us what legal barrier is in the way of him sourcing this information and putting it into the public domain?”

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