NAMA losses - Banks can’t be trusted

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has warned that bankers who provide “misleading information” to the National Assets Management Agency could face criminal prosecution.

In an interview on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he stated that the difference between the original figures for NAMA and the revised projections were essentially the result of misinformation originally supplied by the five participating banking institutions.

This was a blatant attempt to mislead the Government. “We didn’t rely on the figures,” the minister explained in a startling admission. “We didn’t trust the banks. We weren’t hoodwinked by the banks.”

The original plan projected a public profit of €4.8bn, but this has been revised to a profit €1bn, with a warning it could even result in a loss of €800m to the taxpayer. Mr Lenihan insisted, however, that such a shortfall would be recouped by a levy on the banks.

At worst, he said, there would be no loss to the taxpayer for underwriting NAMA. If economic conditions improve, there could be a profit of as much as €3.8bn. The divergence in the figures does not inspire confidence.

Some bank representatives have already played fast and loose with the fortunes of this country, and there should be serious consequences for this. If the minister and his staff can’t trust the banks, who can?


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