Ireland’s banana republic reputation, when it comes to financial regulation, has spread to Australia.
It was 2007 when The New York Times dubbed Dublin the wild west of European finance.
This was the opening line by Emma Alberici, European correspondent for the Australian current affairs programme AM (Read and listen to Alberici’s report here).
Alberici was reporting on the latest failure of Ireland’s so called Financial Regulator to enforce the law.
Jonathan Sugarman was the head of risk management at the Dublin office of Italy’s UniCredit bank which runs a $50 billion operation in Ireland.
Sugarman was forced to resign after his chief executive consistently asked him to break the law.
Clearly, Sugarman’s boss was confident that he operated in a jurisdiction where financial law enforcement does not exist.
The Central Bank told the Australian broadcaster that it was still examining the allegations first brought to it by Sugarman four years ago.
Here’s what Sugarman had to say:
I left the bank’s offices, I walked down to the regulator’s office, I wasn’t going to leave it to anyone to deliver it but myself, and nothing happens.
That is like walking in to a police station with a knife with blood on it and saying I’ve just killed someone and you expect the police to say well where’s the body? Where’s the person? What have you done? And they just say, fine, just don’t do it again.
And that left me dumbfounded.
The bottom line is that the Irish Financial Regulator does not actually regulate, it does not enforce the law.
For many years now it has, effectively, operated a policy of telling white collar criminals to pay back any money robbed and not to do it again.
This irresponsible attitude has resulted in massive hardship and loss for countless thousands of Irish citizens.
The policy has also played a major role in the loss of Ireland’s financial sovereignty and the impoverishment of generations of Irish citizens to come.