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Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - June 27, 2013
By Finfacts Team
Jun 27, 2013 - 7:23 AM

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Irish Independent

ANGLO boss David Drumm's strategy was to go down to the Central Bank "with our arms swinging" to demand a cash injection for his sinking bank.

He explained his strategy about dealing with the Central Bank to senior colleague John Bowe: "Get into the f**king simple speak: 'We need the moolah, you have it, so you're going to give it to us and when would that be? We'll start there."

In the latest Anglo Tapes, Mr Drumm is heard saying he would be threatening regulators unless they wrote him a cheque.

"We'll be going down there with our arms swinging. I'm very clear on the proposal," he told Mr Bowe.

He is also heard threatening to shut Anglo Irish and "hand the keys" to the State if he did not get a fresh influx of capital from the taxpayer.

"I'm going to keep asking the thick question: 'When, when is the cheque arriving?'"

German people are disgusted and offended at comments by Anglo executives as revealed by the Irish Independent, according to a leading politician.

Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Union – the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel – said the recordings were “unbearable”.

In a set of phone calls detailed by the Irish Independent, executives at the toxic Anglo Irish Bank laugh about abusing a blanket bank guarantee to beef up the books at the expense of Germany and the UK.

One conversation - taped two days after the fateful September 30, 2008 bank guarantee - hears former chief executive David Drumm giggle while his colleague John Bowe recites lines from ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’.

THE Coalition will decide next week how the banking inquiry will be conducted as public outrage mounts over the revelations contained in the Irish Independent's Anglo tapes.

The Government's legal adviser is examining the various investigation options available and the strengths and weaknesses in each case, including a re-run of the defeated Oireachtas inquiries referendum.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny left the door open to holding another referendum to give the Oireachtas new powers for a banking inquiry.

EUROPEAN Central Bank chief Mario Draghi urged governments to ease off on tax increases to boost people's disposable income.

Mr Draghi stressed fiscal consolidation measures should be as growth-friendly as possible, with focus placed on cutting capital spending.

The ECB chief told the French National Assembly that there are limits to what monetary policy can achieve.

"For all euro area countries, a new approach is needed," Mr Draghi said.

Irish Times

The cost of in-patent and generic drugs in Ireland remains high in international terms despite measures by Government to tackle the problem, according to a new study.

Ireland had the highest prices for nine out of 13 commonly used generic medicines compared to other European countries, the study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found.

For in-patent drugs, Ireland was among the three most expensive European countries surveyed for 10 leading products.

The actual price differences faced by consumers are probably higher as the study examined ex-factory prices in 2013 rather than the retail price charged to customers in pharmacies.

Via Financial Times: Even Jonathan Swift, creator of Gulliver’s Travels and Ireland’s most famous satirist, would surely have hesitated before writing this scene. It is September 2008 and Ireland’s hapless government, faced with an unprecedented flight of capital from the country’s banking system and acting on the facts given to it, has decided to guarantee the obligations of all Irish banks.

For some of the senior executives in high-flying Anglo Irish Bank the guarantee is a cause for hilarity.  

Banks will not be able to force distressed borrowers off tracker mortgages unless they engage in meaningful write downs. or provide alternative arrangements of real benefit to those in arrears, under a new code of conduct.

The code, published this morning, will not allow the State’s lenders to fast-track home repossessions, the Central Bank has said.

Critics of the new code have accused the regulator of “rolling over” under pressure from the State’s banks but the Central Bank insisted last night that its new proposals would allow borrowers and lenders to reach more sustainable solutions.

The European Union agreed today to force investors and wealthy savers to share the costs of future bank failures, moving closer to drawing a line under years of taxpayer-funded bailouts that have prompted public outrage.

After seven hours of late-night talks, finance ministers from the 27 member states emerged with a blueprint to close or salvage banks in trouble. The plan stipulates that shareholders, bondholders and depositors with more than €100,000 should share the burden of saving a bank.

The deal is a boost for EU leaders, who meet later today in Brussels, and can show that they are finally getting to grips with the financial crisis that began in mid-2007 with the near collapse of Germany’s IKB.

Irish Examiner

There has been an almost 20% decline in the number of business going bust in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Figures from the company information service Vision- net show that there have been 812 companies declared insolvent this year down 17% on the first six months of last year.

According to their latest filed accounts, 537 of the companies who have gone bust owe their short-term creditors €155m.

The courts have also awarded creditors €189m in corporate and consumer judgements for unpaid debts between January and May. The banks are the biggest creditors accounting for 43% of all judgments awarded.

Despite the decline in company failures there were still five companies failing everyday on average for the first six months of the year.

Former Dublin Docklands Development Authority chairman Lar Bradshaw has said that the taxpayer did not lose any money in the controversial purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend seven years ago, but has expressed regret that the authority went through with the deal.

Addressing the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, Mr Bradshaw — who was also a non-executive director of Anglo Irish Bank, one of the main lenders for the purchase — said he had no conflict of interest and nothing to gain on a personal level from the transaction.

He said that, “contrary to popular belief”, neither the State nor the taxpayer lost any money from the deal, but added that the State could have made “considerably” more money than its reported €85m net profit.

Europe

Presseurop: The recent online surveillance scandal involving US intelligence agencies has renewed calls for an urgent reform of European legislation on personal data, which has already been under discussion for years. The proposed reform, though, has consumer associations pitted against the lobbies of the Internet giants.

Camille Gévaudan of French daily Libération writes: Rarely has a proposed reform unleashed such a vast torrent of passions as the one designed to update the European Union’s data privacy policy.

On one side, NGOs and online activists have launched a campaign asking citizens to bombard their MEPs’ inboxes with nude photographs of themselves, in opposition to big corporations’ assault on personal data.

Opposing them are the most powerful web industries, whining for more “flexibility” when it comes to shuffling the private data of millions of Internet users.

And in the middle stand archivists and genealogists, waving their little flag out of fear that the “right to be forgotten” would endanger the collective memory.

How do Croatians view their country’s accession to the European Union? In a bid to evaluate perceptions of the impact of EU membership, local newspaper Novi List spoke to the residents of Rijeka, Croatia’s third largest city.

There is no point in whining about this, at least not according to saleswoman Mirjana Šafar: “Personally, I expect things to improve. I am an optimist by nature, and that is how I look on this change. Hopefully, it will make things easier for young people, and offer them more opportunities to work and study etc. And of course, cross-border travel will be easier – there will be no more customs checkpoints on the road to Trieste. With regard to regional products, some people are worried they won’t be able to sell them anymore. But I think we should not fret about this. Other countries are still able to sell their cheese and cream.”

Euro Topics: According to a report in The Guardian, the UK has been tapping into data traffic between Europe and the US under a large-scale surveillance programme codenamed Tempora. This is completely unconstitutional, the liberal Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad complains: "Except in times of war no country has the right to unrestrictedly and secretly listen into the conversations of the citizens of another country, open their mail or scrutinise their Internet behaviour. Within the EU such a thing is all the more shocking. It increases the doubts about London's attitude to Europe. Clearly the United Kingdom has no scruples when it comes to the basic rights of its fellow Europeans. ... Systems like Prism and Tempora may only be used when a democratic foundation exists for them and they respect legal frameworks. Eliminating civil rights for the sake of protecting them is not a sound strategy - even in the 'war on terror'."

Sidestepping a working majority in the Chamber of Deputies, Czech president Miloš Zeman on Tuesday entrusted his economic adviser Jiří Rusnok with putting together a cabinet of experts. The conservative Czech daily Lidové noviny calls on the parliament to challenge the president's course: "The whole thing smacks of a coup, not in the constitutional sense, but certainly in the political sense. The president appoints a prime minister without the support of parliament and in the end against the will of a majority of deputies. The way the president is enforcing his will is inexcusably scandalous. ... Zeman could be stopped if the deputies could agree on early elections. It is their absolute duty to restore order in parliament."

Fears of a financial crisis in China caused Asian stock markets to dip on Tuesday. China's central bank has announced that it has already put funds at the disposal of banks suffering financial difficulties. The intervention of the central bank has calmed the markets, but behind the fears looms a crisis that will also have a negative impact on Europe and the US, the left-liberal Italian daily La Repubblica fears: "An intervention on the part of the central bank is calming for investors, but at the same time it's also a confession. China's banks need money. This indicates that China isn't going through a financial but an economic crisis. ... Europe and the US are now seeing for themselves that after flying high, China could be in for a bumpier landing than had been expected. And above all in the medium term, Beijing will no longer be the locomotive that drags the other countries out of the bottleneck of their national debts."

A debate has been raging in France since Tuesday over the footage filmed by surveillance cameras of part of the confrontation between the left-wing activist Clément Méric and several skinheads at the beginning of June. The 18-year-old died of severe head injuries after the fight. Right-wing terror must not be played down, the left-liberal French daily Libération writes: "We could go on feeding this pointless controversy by asking: who started the fight?. ... But we won't. Because that's not the main issue here. We know that like many people in the anti-fascist movement, Clément Méric could not entirely avoid the temptation to provoke, and sometimes - perhaps - to use violence. But we must stop there, and not give in to all those who would have us believe that you can lump together the extreme right and the extreme left. We can only commend those young people who are determined to reject the revolting ideas of anti-republican, fascist groups that make hatred their stock in trade."

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