Irish bankers joke over bailout at EU's expense


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The Independent Online

It was not just generous Irish taxpayers being mocked by the bailout-hungry executives at Anglo Irish Bank. New recordings leaked yesterday showed them laughing at the German government as it pumped billions of euros in to shore up the stricken bank.

The disgraced bankers were heard singing: "Deutschland Deutschland, uber alles" as they made wisecracks about funds pouring in on the orders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

They went on joking and singing until the then chief executive, David Drumm, was heard urging them to "get the f***ing money in".

The tape was made in September 2008 – the month when the Irish government did indeed get the money in to AIB.

Deputy prime minister Eamonn Gilmore said it could jeopardise further bailout talks. "What has come out of these tapes doesn't make our job any easier," he said.

It will heighten anger about the behaviour of AIB's already disgraced executives. Previous recordings did not feature executives as senior as Mr Drumm, who is currently in exile in Boston, allegedly owing the state €8m.

Irish opinion was already inflamed earlier in the week when the Irish Independent released tapes of capital markets director John Bower boasting he had picked a figure of €7bn "out of my arse" as the cost of the required state bailout.

Those recordings were debated in the Irish parliament yesterday amid heated exchanges in which Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged: "The buck stops with the government and I am going after [reckless bankers]."

He has launched a parliamentary inquiry "to get accountability and truth in the people's interest".

Micheal Martin, leader of the Fianna Fail party, said people had been angered, sickened and shocked by the recordings and said an independent, rather than parliamentary inquiry should be held.

He was concerned a parliamentary inquiry would not be able to hold those no longer employed at the bank to account.