20/02/2009

Govt Faces Mounting Pressure Over Golden Circle Identities

The infamous 'Golden Circle' of Anglo Irish investors are proving to be a growing thorn in the side of the Government.

Pressure continues to mount on them to reveal the identities of the 10 individuals involved, despite constant refusal form the Cabinet and Taoiseach.

Yesterday, the Taniaste Mary Coughlan claimed the investors, who are involved in a €300m loans-for-shares controversy at Anglo Irish Bank, are "entitled to their privacy".

Ms Coughlan insisted they still have the right to client-banker confidentiality, despite no legal action or determination by a court enforcing any anonymity.

However, the Labour party has today insisted the Government can identify the Anglo investors, saying it believes there is nothing preventing the Government from publishing their identities.

Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore said today that the Taniaste's comments inadvertently confirmed the allegations.

"In making these comments the Tánaiste is essentially confirming the gist of the story: that the 10 persons who bought shares in Anglo were also customers of the bank. There would be no duty of bank/customer confidentiality if those investors merely became shareholders," Mr Gilmore said.

He added: "The duty of confidentiality the Government relies on would only arise if they had also become customers of the bank - by being advanced loans to purchase those shares."

A Labour spokesman added that previous court cases have shown that confidentiality can be overridden where fraud is alleged or where the public interest requires it.

It says the only thing stopping the Government from publishing the names is a lack of political will.

(DW/BMcC)

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