Frank Daly: 'nobody wanted to look into it'

The nation may have a collective case of banking fatigue – and who could blame us? – but there are several issues that so far have not been investigated and are in need of scrutiny.

One of these issues is how the financial institutions tried to pull the wool over the eyes of its shareholders, bondholders and the general public when they first published their estimated discount for assets being transferred to Nama.

As revealed previously in this newspaper, the banks avoided getting formal valuations on a lot of their troubled assets prior to Nama being established, and also seemed to believe that their failure to follow proper paperwork protocols would be overlooked as the government bailed them out. As Nama's Brendan McDonagh put it last week, we could have overpaid by €20bn for the assets if the financial institutions' estimates had been believed.

Thank God, then, for the European Commission's insistence that the loans be bought at market value and Nama's insistence on proper due diligence on the loan books, despite resistance and whingeing from the banks.

But now the question arises as to who in the banks knew what was going on, and were their actions criminal? The Financial Regulator and the relevant authorities must launch their own investigations but the gardaí may have to be called in to look at the attempted swindle of the Irish taxpayer.

"It's not an unreasonable conclusion that nobody wanted to look into it," said Nama chairman Frank Daly last week. It's time somebody did.

FitzPatrick's hypocrisy

One of the interesting stories in The FitzPatrick Tapes is about the Clegg family, who held a 17% stake in Anglo in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In 1992, the late Alan Ruddock of the Sunday Telegraph broke a story claiming the family had been involved in insider trading in one of their other investments and that there were rumours they were under investigation for laundering money and IRA gun-running.

"This was about survival. Suddenly we had this guy who was going to threaten our survival. Imagine linked in with the IRA. Imagine insider dealing. You had to get rid of the guy," FitzPatrick said of then board member John Clegg, a member of the family, who protested his innocence.

FitzPatrick seems to have forgotten his shock relatively quickly, however. By 1998 his bank was giving mortgages to convicted IRA hunger striker Tom McFeeley's Coalport Building Company. Last week the Revenue lodged a petition to wind up Coalport, which lost €9m in the financial year ended August 2008.