Noonan warns banks to keep recordings as Anglo tapes probe gets under way

An independent investigation into the leaking of the Anglo tapes has been ordered and other banks have been warned their taped phone conversations must be kept for a banking inquiry.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said yesterday that the liquidator for IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, had contacted gardaí and the Data Protection Commissioner over the tapes.

Bank of Ireland and AIB have also been warned by the Government to retain any internal taped phone conversations for evidence in a planned banking inquiry.

Mr Noonan said millions of electronic documents and thousands of hard copy files from Anglo had been handed over to gardaí and other groups between 2009 and 20010. These included 3m electronic documents and 5,000 hard copy documents handed to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, as well as 9m electronic documents and 45,000 hard copy documents given to the financial regulator in 2009.

The latter’s inquiry was halted after the DPP began an investigation.

In 2010, fraud gardaí under court order received significant quantities of documents and recordings of 18 employees with Anglo, he said.

The bank, in co-operating with other inquiries, gave “large data sets” (including recordings) to the chartered accountants regulatory body and the Nyberg banking commission, it was added.

Mr Noonan also said that various items including certain Anglo recordings were provided to parties involved in litigation with the bank.

The family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn are among those who received copies of recordings as part of discovery orders in their action against the bank.

Mr Noonan told the Dáil that the IBRC’s special liquidators were “taking the leaking of this material very seriously”, adding: “The liquidator’s role is to get the maximum sale of assets for the state from Anglo. They have written to all parties whom they know have access to this material and I am also advised that the special liquidators intend to appoint an independent party to investigate if the leak came from IBRC or KPMG [the liquidator’s own company].”

Mr Noonan said tapes existed in other banks of internal phone calls going in and out of treasury sections.

Banks needed to “be on alert” that these tapes may now be needed for a banking probe, he warned.

It was confirmed last night that Mr Noonan is to write to Bank of Ireland, AIB, and Permanent TSB warning them to keep tapes of internal conversations recorded in recent years.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath called for an independent probe into the banking crisis which could make adverse findings.

Mr Noonan said that he wanted a transparent inquiry but that any probe would not jeopardise any criminal actions.


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