I want to be clear with Deputy Gilmore. There is no reference to this matter in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. Deputy Gilmore referred to arrangements that were the other part of the resolution of this unwinding of the CFDs that Mr. Quinn had built up in the bank. Regarding loans by Anglo Irish Bank to customers for the purchase of Anglo Irish Bank shares and the Government's knowledge of the matter, as Minister for Finance I became aware, from contacts between the Department of Finance, the governor and the Financial Regulator over the course of last year, that a large overhang of shares were held by the Quinn group and related persons in the family. This was considered by the bank and the market to be a source of instability and the institution was seeking a resolution of the issue. The details of this were a matter for Anglo Irish Bank and, as appropriate, the Financial Regulator. The Minister for Finance was advised in late July 2008 that a number of investors had invested in Anglo Irish Bank but the Minister was not advised of who the individuals were or the nature of the transaction. As a result of due diligence recently undertaken on behalf of the Minister, certain matters in connection with transactions involving the Quinn stake in Anglo Irish Bank and related loans to Anglo Irish Bank customers for the purchase of shares came to the attention of the Minister and these are now being investigated by the various regulatory bodies, including the Financial Regulator and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
In January, the Government made clear that an important factor in the decision to nationalise Anglo Irish Bank was concern that corporate governance issues at Anglo Irish Bank could destabilise the bank and threaten the stability of the financial system. However, it would not have been appropriate for the Government to publicly disclose partial information that was, and remains, the subject of investigation by the responsible statutory authorities. As part of its normal operations, the annual accounts of Anglo Irish Bank will be published in the coming week. I understand there will be detailed notes in the accounts that will address the matter of loans issued by Anglo Irish Bank for the purchase of its shares as well as the transaction involving Irish Life & Permanent. The new board of Anglo Irish Bank is reviewing corporate governance practices of the bank and will put in place arrangements to guide the bank in the future. I am confident the new board will pursue the necessary changes in this regard.
In the midst of the ongoing investigations into corporate governance at Anglo Irish Bank, the Government's priority is to ensure the stability of the Irish banking system. Depositors and creditors with Irish banks have been and will be protected and the Government will ensure that actions that cause damage to the reputation of our financial system are fully pursued in accordance with the law.
Deputy Gilmore suggested that he found it difficult to believe me. I am telling the truth. This is an internal arrangement of Anglo Irish Bank that was understood at the time to be in compliance and that was found in due diligence to raise certain questions that are being addressed by the Financial Regulator and the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Those investigations must be completed as quickly as possible so that full details and facts can be provided by those with the statutory authority to do so. I will not get involved in rumour or anything else. I deal with the facts and the facts are as I have outlined. If Deputy Gilmore accepts my integrity, as he says he does, that is the situation and I have no reason to say otherwise. If I knew, I would tell him.