The 10 investors were mega wealthy individuals who were important customers of the bank. In effect they were being asked to pick up the Quinn shares in Anglo Irish and Anglo was loaning them the money to do so.
Or in other words, the bank was loaning people money to buy its own shares. Which, as we said, is illegal.
We will see how all this plays out in the weeks and months ahead. But already some interesting facts have emerged in the first few days of the case.
For example, we now know that the Financial Regulator was directly involved in meetings, including a meeting with Quinn, as the situation unfolded. It is stretching credibility to believe that he did not know what was happening. Similarly with the Central Bank.
And if those guys knew what was going down, are we really supposed to believe that the senior people in the Department of Finance and the top politicians in the government had no idea what was happening?
It’s hard to have any sympathy for the Anglo Irish bankers. But they’re not the only ones who should be on trial.
It’s also hard to have any sympathy for Quinn. Famously he was a man with simple tastes even when he was Ireland’s richest man. His favorite pastime was playing cards with old friends in games where the maximum stake was a few cents.
Clearly he was way out of his depth messing with CFDs. Now all the money has gone and he has been publicly humiliated – but he only has himself to blame.