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Whistleblowers Testify in EU Parliament

Yesterday a very high-powered panel of international banking whistleblowers met and told their stories in the European parliament.  The questions raised were important. Among them was the Irish Whistleblower, Jonathan Sugarman, who when UniCredit Ireland was breaking the law in very serious ways reported it to the Irish regulator.

He related how he was not only ignored by his bank, the Irish regulator but also all the major political parties.  He then pointed out that the Irish regulator claims that it always – and it is the law after all –  informs the regulator of the home country of banks which have subsidiaries in Ireland, about any serious problems.  In the case of UniCredit that would mean the Italian Central bank would have been told that Italy’s largest Bank was in serious breach of Irish law in ways that could endanger the whole banking system. The head of the Italian Central Bank at the time was a certain Mr Mario Draghi.  Mr Sugarman suggested Mr Draghi should be asked point-blank of he did or if he did not know. If he did not then the Irish regulator was at least incompetent, and may have lied, misled  and perhaps even broken Irish laws. If he was told and did know, then Mr Draghi has serious questions to answer regarding his own dereliction of duty.

Surely not I hear you say.  Well perhaps someone might ask him? Or is he above the law?



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23 Responses to Whistleblowers Testify in EU Parliament

  1. Jonathan Sugarman November 17, 2016 at 11:51 pm #


    A. Thank you.

    B. MEP ‘Ming’ Flanagan has just replied to my tweet of
    your blog posting. I repeated your question “Is Draghi above the law?”. Here is Flanagan’s response:

    Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (@lukeming) tweeted at 11:13 p.m. on Thu, Nov 17, 2016:

    I’d ask him but, his bodyguard ,er I mean ECON chairman @gualtierieurope [EU Commission President Gualtierie] won’t let it happen.



    • madame de farge January 14, 2018 at 1:16 pm #

      Nocera wrote a book about the mess in the US Banks and one thing was clear.. The risk managers were ignored, demoted or fired….. and imagine that the Board of Directors and the CEOs just had no idea what was going on…..Same as the filthy lies surrounding the Wars in the East….bringing democracy lol…..

  2. steviefinn November 18, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Well very good luck with that Jonathon & the rest. I like the ‘ Ming ‘, he produced a very good video of his almost Indiana Jones attempt to storm the EU fortress to gain access to the secret book of TTIP.

    Draghi, was I think involved in dodgy dealings at Monte Paschi bank….still, Goldman could take him back & he could reunite with his old mate Barrosa.

  3. John Souter November 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    Perhaps the best approach is for the Irish Regulator to be examined by an Irish Court on discovery of all related communication sent by him to UniCredit?

    Did he blow the whistle; or merely smother the whistleblower?

  4. Jesse November 18, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    I have featured this on my site.

    I hope that you do not mind that I did not truncate it, but it was rather compactly and well stated. I do have a link to this site.

    Let me know if this is not satisfactory and I will change it.

    Thank you as always.


    • Golem XIV November 18, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

      I am always most grateful when you find something I have mentioned to be of value.

      I hope you and yours are well and happy.

  5. Brian Woods Snr. November 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

    Some folk might like to ‘google’ Patrick Neary’ – who was ‘allegedly’ our Financial Regulator …. He stupidly gave a TV interview extolling the ‘soundness’ of Irish domestic banks (as in “No worries!”) – and the rest as they say, is history.

    Whistleblowers are basically ‘traitors’ – should be hanged using the ‘short drop’ technique. Shooting being too swift, and all. [insert irony here]

  6. Bill40 November 19, 2016 at 12:23 am #

    Of course super Mario is above the law, I would have thought that obvious.

  7. JohnB November 19, 2016 at 2:07 am #

    In relation to Ireland and our central bank at the time, you may find this interesting – and worth trying to find more information on:
    “At a recent Irish Economic Association discussion of house prices, the Central Bank official in charge of financial regulation (whose publications with the ultra-libertarian Cato Institute strongly oppose any form of bank regulation – a real case of an atheist being appointed an archbishop) stopped the proceedings to announce that the view of the Bank was that, as long as international markets were happy to buy debt issued by Irish banks, there could be no problem with their lending policies.”

    What is notable about that, is Ireland had an official in charge of financial regulation, who was publishing in Cato…one of those most well known anti-regulatory think tanks in the world.

    I never did find out who that person was – would be interesting to discover more about that, as it sounds like something which would highlight the serious degree of regulatory capture in Ireland.

  8. Spartacus Rex November 21, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    ” Well perhaps someone might ask him? Or is he above the law?”

    Name a single bankster who has ever been charged with Fraud & Counterfeiting

    “Permit me to issue and control a nation’s money, and I care not who writes their laws.”
    Mayer Amschel Rothschild

    Why the whole banking system is a scam – Godfrey Bloom MEP

  9. Michael Fish November 24, 2016 at 4:34 am #

    Could it be that there is something in the Irish cultural make up that allows thugs and criminals to run free knowingly amongst the population and even be rewarded for really bad behaviour ?
    Is Ireland a country where 100 percent of the people either lack a moral compass or fear the personal results of stepping out of line to report the crimes of high officials ?.
    It takes only a single Edward Snowdon among the hundreds of thousands of NSA employees to have ripped the face off of American exceptionalism. He alone made a distinction about what was right and what was wrong and acted morally. Only one army private, Chelsea Manning, among thousands of members of the armed forces exposed the moral corruption of American imperialism as practised at street level and in private conversation in a war zone. There were hundreds if not thousands of Irish people covering up the crimes of the Catholic clergy who abused children and others for years, generations even. Journalists, other priests, nuns, police, prosecutors, Judges, politicians, lay church people, bishops, cardinals, popes, all knew some part of the crimes which were being perpetrated continually.
    The same categories of problems were being perpetrated daily in the corrupted structures around the banking and mortgaging industries and the political structure of the Emerald Isle. Every citizen of Ireland who knows what happened to cause the banking crisis years ago is a willing Accomplice to the criminal acts which destroyed the economy and did so much damage to the country and harm to its people.
    Jonathan Sugarman is certainly not the only person with knowledge of this corruption but the regulator knew more than he did. Official records have to exist that implicate him and many others in a wide web of criminal activity that has to be investigated and made public.
    The essential survival of the country and its moral centre are at stake. Every effort must be made to find and expose those records.
    Michael Fish, Canada

    • steviefinn November 24, 2016 at 11:59 am #


      I moved to Ireland around twenty years ago & was surprised firstly by what appeared to me to be a general acceptance of corruption, in what was a culture summed up in two words ” brown envelope “. I experienced at a local level through anecdotes about local planning from people who had to pay the piper for permission & the fact that a local TD who was a property developer had the power to determine planning decisions. I personally had to provide a small bribe in order to get a phone installed.

      The second surprise was the apparent obsession with property, which at that time was being heated up as the Celtic piggie had started to gather pace. John B. Keane’s play & later the film of the same name is I think an extreme illustration of this as it is based on a real incident in Lyecrompane in Co. Kerry.

      According to a friend, the ” brown envelope “, thing was the norm since independence within a country that struggled to survive, resulting in a cash under the table black economy. As to the church – as Ireland is mainly based on small rural communities, the clergy, although now not having the power that they once held, still are the glue that holds these communities together.

      There is a lot of looking the other way in terms of corruption, child abuse, the Magdalene laundries etc in what, with the two main political parties being of the right, is a very conservative country. My experience of Irish people however is that by & large they are good, bad, but mainly indifferent ( unless effected directly ), just like the rest of us.

      • Aine December 14, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

        Eeww to both of you, in the words of our best musician ‘thats a fine lookin high horse’ your both on

        Yes we are a generally laid back culture and that has its downsides as well as its upsides (we don’t for instance have a constant messianic need to push our version of ‘right’ on other cultures) and partly due to that and partly due to our history we have a complex relationship with authority, even when its nominally in our own hands.
        But…the church orphanage abuses and magalene scandals WERE exposed and the Church has lost most of its standing in Irish life as a result. The Irish media did not scrimp in its coverage of either. Nor did the government scrimp in investigating it. it took far too long bui the wheels of justice were put in motion in the end.
        Tell me did I just imagine the Jimmy Saville scandal? Do you think your media and tribunals really followed that to its bitter end? Has the stench coming from that orphanage in Jersey been followed up on? Has it ever been mentioned on the BBC? Or Mr. Fish how about the treatment of the indigenous children on Canada?? Did either of those scandals get the kind of tribunals and weekly reporting by your National Press.
        And thats before we get into the banking goings on in either of your countries. Ireland is small and as such power becomes easily concentrated in a small number of interconnected hands. Everybody is golfing and hob nobbing at the same clubs and this makes doing ones job ever so awkward sometimes. But please spare me the idea that it is only Ireland that is affected by this. Please don’t tell me you’re so deluded as to think there arent active ol boys networks at work in the power structures of your own countries. Or is just that you find ‘brown envelopes’ ever so common as oppossed to ‘gentleman’s agreements’ hashed out over a nice port wine.
        I thought this blog was all about looking at the dismal effects of power and wealth, EVERYWHERE, becoming ever more connected. But hey it won’t be the first Anglo blog to descend into sneering at the stereotypes of the PIIGS, and I;m sure it won’t be the last either. It so much part of your ‘ culture’ isn’t it, the desire to sneer at the ‘other’.
        And so like the high minded liberals everywhere these days you ‘ll encourage those ‘other’ to stick with those who won’t so openly insult them. I hope your self righteousness musing satisfy you, otherwise they might be I dunno 100% useless.

        • steviefinn December 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

          I am slightly confused about the apparent anger in your reply, which appears to be based on 2 comments within a blog that if you took the time to look would turn up plenty of criticisms & comments of the bad things that go on in many other countries. My comment which it seems I apparently foolishly believed was a defense of the Irish, is based partly on my own experience & the rest being made up of what I learnt from Irish people.

          Yes you are correct in stating that these things also happen in the UK, & I would add, pretty much everywhere else & basically the above is just the Irish version of those in power, in time honoured fashion, beating up the weakest. If I was to criticise say NAMA, is that wrong because I am English ? If that was all I chose to pick on while ignoring similar goings on in my own country, then I think you would have a case, but as I have already stated…..take a look around here & I think you will find that we tend to be pretty even handed in our slagging off – which is not ( except probably in a few comments ) in any case directed at the natives of a country, but rather at the assholes who are running or ruining that place.

          Let me tell you a story concerning my late wife that besides all the shite that goes on, sums up the very best of human nature & in this case the Irish version.

          We move to Ireland basically because the work I do due to globalisation, was becoming harder to come by & I did not want my wife to have to go back to work as she was recovering from breast cancer. I was offered a pretty decent job in a nice small town in which we rented a small bungalow in a very nice location.

          My wife as soon as she got back on her feet got very bored, & as unlike me she was a very confident outgoing person, she started to get involved in local women’s groups, which led to her & some Irish friends she soon made, forming there own group called Women 2K. As my wife had been an adult tutor in England, mainly in subjects such as assertiveness etc designed to help mainly women at the bottom of society – she started to organise nights with the group in order to teach these subjects.

          Later on a nun by the same of Sister Finbar entered the story. She had over the years despite huge resistance, built up within the local community hall a women’s centre, whose primary aim was to help those at the bottom – single parent mothers , immigrants & Traveller women. She got wind of what Pam was doing, which had become hugely popular, not least because Pam was a natural teacher & a performer who was entertainingly providing something that then there was in rural Ireland at that time, a great need for.

          She offered Pam a job after a period of scraping the funding together, which entailed writing courses based on the NVQ equivalent in England, which luckily Pam unknown to myself had brought over with her. I was worried about her overdoing it, but as usual, it would have been easier to stop the wind. As this happened the women’s group were being inundated by community women’s groups in small towns & villages for talks on the various female issues that Pam delivered.

          Anyway this went on happily for about 3 years with me becoming the driver on winters nights, going to goodness where on largely not very good roads, without cat’s eyes & then sitting in a local bar for 2 hours with a glass of guiness & a book. My favourite memory in terms of this was the last National Women’s day celebration that she organised, to which I was allowed a grudging presence, earned by constantly having to listen to ” Sista’s are doing it for themselves ” in order to get the lyrics for the song for around 30 women, all dressed up in their national costumes ( The Nigerians were an amazing sight ) to almost bring the house down.

          Anyway the cancer came back, this time terminal which is obviously a no win situation, but the response of our neighbours, the wider community, another local group who without any help from government had set up a centre to help people cope with cancer, not to mention the health service workers, particularly the small team of women palliative nurses, who I can only describe as angels in human form, did all that was humanly possible to make the best of a terrible job. Pam’s funeral was attended by around 300 women.

          I shall always be grateful to the Irish for showing me what I consider to be the very best of what mankind can deliver, which serves as a sharp contrast to the efforts to destroy this from those who it appears to me who would prefer that we were all as they are themselves, enslaved to power, engaged in a token grubbing existence which denigrates our shared humanity, as we are forced to kneel at the colossal gold encrusted altar to Mammon.

          The above I hope clarifies what I celebrate & what I abhor & it applies to everyone, whatever their creed, race, religion, sex, nationality, job or anything else. As for doing nothing – I am probably wasting my time in rambling on & on in places like this, but I know David & Jonathon are not as wasn’t Sister Finbar when she set out on a long hard road to fight for justice for the downtrodden. We attempt to plant seeds….some of which will grow.

          • Roger Lewis December 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

            It is so very true isn´t it ? The truth will set you free . But, First it will piss you off.
            I love Ireland and The Irish spirit and have been blessed with some Golden friendships with Irish men and women. I am a Welshman and admit there is certainly something in the joke that The Welsh are simply Irishmen that can not swim.
            Stereo Typing a people is a hiding to nothing, stereo-typing power structures is actually rather less prone to inaccurate generalisation particularly in the Age of Globalism.
            The current crop of people in Power have shinned up the greasy pole of Neo-Liberalism, as Buchanan says , a little bit of corruption is to be expected and actually healthy, much better than the impossible challenges to human nature posed by Moral zealots
            No such thing as Public Interest.
            Zealots . https://youtu.be/y97Ywl7RtUw?t=49m37s

            So Aine, The Irish, welsh, English and scots are no more or less prone to turning a blind eye and we are all still largely taught that Politicians are serving the Public Interest whilst the underlying ideology is as set out by James Buchanan and his public choice theory.

            And here is something we can all enjoy.

  10. Wirplit December 1, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    To whistleblow effectively there has to be an audience for the news that has a moral view on the matter and is willing to take it to the issue say in voting or the like. The facts exposed have to create the anger that moves governments to act. The trouble is the audience is largely disempowered except fleetingly with votes. The more they hear the more they are growing sure the whole system is corrupt. This gives rise to anger but it is not focused as the original whistleblowers charges probably were. It becomes a diffuse simmering and often unfocused anger. This anger can cause real upheavals but where they lead is harder to predict.
    Whistleblowing works best in less corrupt societies where moral claims and moral failures are taken seriously and then acted upon. But are we in such a society any longer? Is Europe as a whole?
    To say for example now that regulators are captured, that institutions are corrupt, that banks are run by thieves is hardly to surprise many, But how can the many people feeling this way express their rage that makes any difference?

    It is this failure to truly allow that rage to take constructive and truly reformist routes that changes things that most exposes the powers both left and right for their uselessness. It is they that should be enforcing the law and I include the European parliament in that.

    Instead their failure to act or even be honest over their helplessness ( as Varoufakis was) fuels the deadly cynicism that makes the longing for brutal answers that at least seem to tackle the problems so very seductive.


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