What is it with us and banks anyway? How come no one bats an eyelid at this story in the Business Post two weeks ago?
At a time when it was in an apparent liquidity crisis Anglo sells a subsidiary bank in Austria that held over €600 million in deposits. Why would it do that? So keen was Anglo to do the deal that it lent the buyer €24 million of the €141 million sale price.
The curious tale of Anglo Irish Bank and its Austrian deposits
The sale of Anglo’s Austrian business was completed on December 19, 2008, the day after FitzPatrick resigned as chairman after his dodgy loan dealing had been uncovered.
..the Valartis annual report reveals that the Austrian operation manages about 1.6 billion Swiss francs (€1.25 billion) for about 4,000 private banking clients.
Those clients can now remain very private indeed, far away from the scrutiny of the Irish state which stepped in and nationalised Anglo Irish Bank in January 2009 in the wake of revelations about FitzPatrick concealing large loans from his shareholders.
One of the big advantages of having money on deposit with an Austrian bank is that the identity of depositors cannot be disclosed to the authorities, as Austria enjoys certain derogations from the EU Savings Directive. This was and remains a key attraction for those who deposit funds in Austria. [...]
Let’s hope those clients don’t include any Irish depositors who might owe money to Anglo, to other struggling Irish banks or to the Irish taxpayer.