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Dubai connection: How Anglo executives travelled to the Middle East but couldn’t get funding

Details of the plan were given by former CFO Matt Moran who confirmed today that he was given immunity from prosecution.

Former CFO of Anglo Irish Bank Matt Moran gave evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal court this afternoon.
Former CFO of Anglo Irish Bank Matt Moran gave evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal court this afternoon.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FORMER ANGLO EXECUTIVES travelled to the Middle East in an ultimately fruitless attempt to find investors the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told today.

Anglo’s former chief financial officer Matt Moran testified that he travelled to Dubai with CEO David Drumm and met with five separate investment houses there but found that they were not interested in investing.

“There was no investors willing to take it up, they were more interested in large global branded institutions,” he said.

Moran said that the idea was attempted because these sovereign wealth institutions had previously invested in Merrill Lynch, the Bank of America and Citigroup when they were experiencing similar capital problems.

But the potential investors were ultimately not interested in a “niche” institution, he said.

Moran was testifying at the trial of Willie McAteer, Seán Fitzpatrick and Pat Whelan for providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals to buy shares in Anglo.

Whelan is also charged of seven different counts of fraudulently altering a document.

In beginning his evidence, Moran confirmed that he was given immunity from prosecution in the matters relating to this case and other issues on which prosecutions may be taken.

He recalled how Drumm spoke to the financial regulator Pat Neary on the phone while in the Middle East.

“He informed Mr Neary that the we were on the roadshow with investors but it was difficult to put in place and too early to judge if that would be successful,” he said.

The plan to secure funding from Middle East investors was one of a capital raising ideas suggested in 2008. Other plans were given codenames such as Project Sleeve, Project Graphite and the Dribble Mechanism.

Project Sleeve was a suggestion from Morgan Stanley and involved looking to existing investors to increase their shareholding while Project Graphite was a plan to acquire ACC from Rabobank.

The Dribble Mechanism involved selling a small portion of Seán Quinn’s holding in the bank each day in a manner that wouldn’t affect the share price.

imageMatt Moran pictured with David Drumm in 2006. Pic: (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

Moran also told the court that in 2007 he had sold his shares in other Irish banks and that he had wanted to sell his shares in Anglo but was persuaded not to by David Drumm.

This is because, he said, that as a senior figure in the bank such a sale would be reported.

Thumbs up

Moran also told the court that he had been told by Drumm that the financial regulator had given the go ahead for the Maple 10 deal that saw loans given to investors to buy shares in the bank.

Moran said that when the deal was being put together he was told on 9 July 2008 of the regulator’s approval:

David Drumm said to me that he had spoken to the regulator about it and he had got their approval and he gestured to me with a thumbs up.

On the same day, Moran testified that he met with McAteer in his office and discussed a deal that would see the Maple 10 investors buying up to 13 per cent of Sean Quinn’s holding in the bank, leaving the businessman with about 15 per cent.

Moran will continue his evidence tomorrow morning.

Read: “Regulator squared” – Internal Anglo email details Maple 10 plan >

Read: Maple Ten developer was told Anglo “would be gone in a week” if loans-for-shares deal failed >

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Rónán Duffy

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