Once again, my friend Jonathan Sugarman, the Irish/UniCredit whistleblower, is to appear before a public body and attempt to put on the record what those in power and their friends in the banks have tried for a decade to suppress.
On Thursday Jonathan is to testify before The Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach. Jonathan was invited to testify some weeks ago. Now I obviously don’t know any of the confidential story. How could I? But what I do know from Jonathan, is that it was and still is, his hope and intention to tell the committee exactly what he knew of what led to the Irish banking collapse. If I know Jonathan he would have been very clear with those who arranged the invitation that he would not be censored nor deflected into talking of other safer topics. He would have been very clear he would testify with his first hand knowledge of 1) what happened at Unicredit, 2) How this was an example of unwise or illegal activities within the broader banking sector. I know Jonathan has always felt it was imperative that what he knew should be on the public record since what he could testify to, lay at the root of the general banking collapse, shed valuable light upon why the government suddenly – and against professional financial advice – paid the notorious blanket, overnight bank guarantee and how this led to the crippling public debt that was its direct result.
All Jonathan wants to do on Thursday is to tell the truth. Too many in the major parties, the Central Bank and the Banking community have worked and continue to work very hard to keep him and a few others like him firmly shut up behind a wall of legal and financial threats.
Jonathan has tried before to get things on the record in Ireland. From the beginning he has had dealings with all the major parties telling them what he knew. Every one of them listened, made promises and later disowned him. Some even claiming they had never met him. Such is the immense fear and pressure to keep what really went on, buried.
And I fear it is happening again. The invitation was to talk about banking and its regulation – things of importance for the future of every man and woman in Ireland. But in the last days when the Central Bank and the large private – so called Pillar Banks, of Ireland – have testified the central bank particularly has chosen to talk exclusively about such pressing topics as tracker mortgages and car insurance. So, a committee wanting to investigate banking and its regulation, calls in the Irish Central bank – the key banking regulator – which then decides it will talk about tracker mortgages? In my opinion, the banks with the help of the Central Bank are trying to limit the agenda before Jonathan even arrives. I think they are trying to make sure that nothing of import is covered and there is nothing that could lead to any difficult questions for anyone to report or to follow up.
Why would the big private banks and the Central bank be so concerned to restrict the whole thing to set such limited agenda? Let’s take the example of Mr Richie Boucher. He is the CEO of Bank of Ireland. He is about to step down. You might think he might have a great store of vital, interesting and relevant things to talk about. He was, after all in the room with Lenihan and Cowan on the night the Bank Guarantee was agreed. As was, I have been told by two separate people who claim to have knowledge – but have never had it officially confirmed – a certain Peter Sutherland – father of the WTO and head cheerleader for globalism in general, and who was, on the night of the guarantee, chairman of Goldman Sachs International (A post he held from 1995 and didn’t give up till 2015). So you might have thought the committee would love to ask and be told by Mr Boucher what happened that night and what events led up to that most fateful of decisions, taken so quickly and so irrevocably by a group of men behind closed doors. But no. If you want to give yourself a headache go read his dozens of pages of testimony and I challenge you to find a single thing of vital interest to anyone wanting to understand banking regulation, or the lack of it, in Ireland.
The government can have as much shiny banking regulation as it can find paper to print it on. And shout about how wonderful their regulations are. The fact of the matter is any idiot can have paper regulation but if they chose not to ever enforce them then it is naught but a store- house of toilet paper for the banks and bankers to use.
The decision to bail out all the banks and the decisions to ignore all the warnings they were given by Jonathan and others, which led to the most momentous and far reaching decision of recent times, that has effected then lives of every person in Ireland, is still shrouded in secrecy. Do you know why the decision was taken? Would you like to know how Ireland got to the point that such a decision was ever needed? Why are those like Mr Boucher not being forced to tell on oath what they know? Do the people of Ireland not have a clear right to know?
If Jonathan is told he can only talk about the irrelevant topics the banks and central bank have chosen to restrict themselves to, then they will have silenced Jonathan yet again. This must not be allowed to happen.
I can tell them it won’t work. Too many people are watching. Too many are aware of what went on and whose necks are at risk. And not least, Jonathan, despite being hounded relentlessly, is not one to back down. He has kept his powder dry and what a store of powder it is.
Jonathan already, a few weeks ago, bearded Draghi in his den.
You can see Jonathan testify in the Eu parliament here
And hear the question that skewered Draghi here
And here is the list of Bond holders that Jonathan and I tried twice, through the good offices of Senator Norris, to get read in the parliament – both times being prevented. These are some of the bond holders the Irish government was so determined to bail out that it decided it would crush a generation of its own people with crippling austerity.
When will the People of Ireland make their voices heard and demand that the truth and the whole truth be told, and damn those who have profited from its suppression?