Last year, Iceland set precedent by sentencing 26 top bankers to a combined 74 years in prison, for causing the 2008 global financial crisis. The unprecedented conviction of bad bankers sent a strong message across the world (none of America’s top bankers went to jail for the crimes that caused the 2008 financial crisis) that no individual is too big to investigate, and that it was possible to prosecute fraudulent bankers.
Taking cue from Iceland, Ireland is going to prosecute the 2005-2008 CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, David Drumm, on 33 criminal charges. These include two charges of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting relating to €7.2 billion in deposits placed in Anglo Irish Bank accounts by the then Irish Life and Permanent, between March and September 2008.
16 of the 33 charges relate to unlawfully authorizing billions in loans (to be invested back into Anglo Irish Bank) to 16 wealthy investors, in a bid to artificially prop up Anglo Irish Bank’s share price before its December 2008 collapse. Each of the 33 offenses carries a 5 or 10 year jail term, except for a single count of conspiracy to defraud, which has a maximum penalty of an “unlimited term of imprisonment” under Irish law.
According to Cape Cod Times, Anglo Irish Bank was nationalized in January 2009, but the financial crisis before and after the nationalization destroyed Ireland’s economy, with taxpayers forced to shoulder costs of $32 billion to cover bad debt and repay investors. The collapse of its economy forced Ireland to take EU and IMF bailout packages worth up to £77 billion in November 2010.