Three senior Irish bankers were jailed last Friday for up to three-and-a-half years each. They were convicted of conspiring to defraud investors in the most prominent prosecution arising from the 2008 banking crisis that crippled the country’s economy.
The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis.
The lack of convictions until now has angered Irish taxpayers, who had to stump up 64 billion euros – almost 40 per cent of annual economic output – after a property collapse forced the biggest state bank rescue in the eurozone.
The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010 and the finance ministry said last month that it could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating.
Former Irish Life and Permanent Chief Executive Denis Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months following the 74-day criminal trial, Ireland’s longest ever.
Willie McAteer, former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, and John Bowe, its ex-head of capital markets, were given sentences of 42 months and 24 months respectively.
All three were convicted of conspiring together and with others to mislead investors, depositors and lenders by setting up a 7.2-billion-euro circular transaction scheme between March and September 2008 to bolster Anglo’s balance sheet.
Unfortunately, the United States government is rife with corruption, and while US bankers committed fraud and other crimes, such as money laundering in the tens of billions for the Mexican drug cartels, not a single Wall Street banker-criminal has even been charged with a crime, although the banks have had to pay fines in the billions.
That’s because Wall Street bankers and other major corporate players own the US government, and both major political parties. This goes to show how political corruption in the US trumps justice.