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Irish PM shocked by 'vulgar' Anglo Irish Bank tapes

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Friday he was thunderstruck by leaked tapes at the centre of a scandal at the bailed-out Anglo Irish Bank which he said has tarnished Ireland's reputation.

But Kenny said after an EU summit in Brussels that he hoped his fellow European leaders realised that the conversations revealed in the tapes belonged to the past, and Ireland had worked hard to mend it ways.

"These tapes are thunderbolt. They show the arrogance and the insolence of senior personnel within the bank towards everybody, towards the government and citizens," Kenny told a news conference at the end of the two-day summit.

The tapes would have "an impact on every company, every community, and every family in our country" because they shone a bright light on the "vulgarity".

The affair "has damaged our reputation," the Irish leader conceded.

The tapes, disclosed by the Irish Independent newspaper, reveal the often brusque demands and colourful language used by senior executives at the bank as they were seeking a multi-billion-euro taxpayer bailout in 2008.

On one tape, bank executives can be heard mocking Germans and one sings "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles".

In another tape dating from 2008, the bank's then chief executive David Drumm outlines his strategy for bringing cash into the fast-collapsing institution.

He tells John Bowe, Anglo's then director of treasury, to use "simple speak" when making his plea to the Central Bank of Ireland.

"We need the moolah, you have it, so you're going to give it to us and when would that be? We'll start there."

The newspaper reported that Drumm said he would threaten regulators unless they agreed to give him the funds.

In 2010, the bank posted losses of 17.65 billion euros, the largest corporate loss in Irish history, after the bursting of a property bubble left it with a huge pile of worthless loans it had granted to developers.

Anglo Irish eventually required a government rescue package costing more than 30 billion euros and the bank was nationalised in 2009.

The Irish government has promised to open an inquiry into the bailout of Anglo Irish.

The banking crisis forced Ireland to accept an 85 billion euro bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130628/irish-pm-shocked-vulgar-anglo-irish-bank-tapes