“Arrogant Inhuman Bastards”

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Newstalkaib-signReturning Breakfast Show presenter Ivan Yates was among Pat Kenny’s guests on Newstalk this morning to discuss his UK bankruptcy….

..and AIB.

Yates: “Can I just explain bankruptcy? The deal is, the day you are made bankrupt, you lose everything, I’ve lost my home, I’ve lost my property, they actually took the flat, the money that was in my flat. And the deal is that on your discharge, you don’t owe anybody. But I faced huge difficulties, restrictions in Swansea, they’re still pursuing my wife, my mother’s farm payments,the farm is rented oot they’re still pursuing that, and I have huge legal bills to pay myself, and I’m on the bottom rung of the property ladder.”

Kenny: “What do you think will happen to Deirdre, your wife, I mean she signed these guarantees with you? She has not been made a bankrupt in Wales, or indeed anywhere else, what’s the future for her?

Yates: “She…she faces, she’s a primary school teacher, she faces enormous difficulties. They’ve threatened her with a judgment of 3.4 million. I will try and negotiate with that, I just don’t know.”

Kenny:
“It was speculated at the time that you were selling ‘Celtic Bookmakers’, how close did you come to getting a deal that would have avoided all of these problems, and that not alone, would you be secure, but you would have had change?”

Yates: “I deal with this in the book. In the first week of October 2008, I was in William Hill’s board-room and my plan was to sell the business for 13 million. The next day, the betting tax went up, in the emergency budget from 1% to 2%, it’s paid by the bookie, not by the punter. There was an expectation that the roulette machines, fixed odds betting terms would be brought in. The Government decided against that, and from that moment on, I was on the slippery slope of cutting costs, trying to… the stress of trying to save 340 jobs, all the difficulties of that.”

Kenny: “But, you were that close to…

Yates: “Put it like this..”

Kenny:
“Weeks away from the deal?”

Yates: “Well, put it like this, I thought the negotiations were going to go well, I was happy to be paid in William Hill shares. They had fifty shops in Ireland. But they ended up, pulling out of Ireland, so the whole thing went west.”

Kenny: “You’re writing a book, as I mentioned, the chapter on the banks, you called AIB, which stands for Arrogant Inhuman Basterds, which is a pun on a movie [Inglorious Basterds]. Your experience of them, I mean, you clearly despise them.”

Yates: “Well, they’ve destroyed my life.”

Kenny:“Well, you’ve destroyed your life.”

Yates: “Sorry, I take responsibility for it, but, it was their choice to force me into bankruptcy. Like, I feel, personally, inside this suit, a deep sense of shame, you know, what I’ve dragged my 81 year old mother through, what I’ve dragged my wife and family through. I mean bankruptcy is an indelible stain and stigma on my CV. Because I have been introduced, doing programmes like this, you know, Former Minister, Former Bookie, Former Broadcaster, now, Former Bankrupt. I really wanted to do anything to get out of that, and they compelled me into that, and I will find it hard to forgive them for that.”

Kenny: “You relay conversations with a particular individual who used to work with Anglo, and you know, thinking that he was in conversation with you, at the height of your difficulties, and he’s saying to you, you know, people should have more sympathy for Anglo, and what it had achieved and so on, meantime, they’re screwing you to the wall. Do you think there are double standards at work here?”

Yates: “I do, I have lots of views about the law on personal guarantees, about how the UK insolvency system works and how it’s not working here in Ireland, five years later. I have lots of views about corporate insolvency versus personal insolvency. But, you know what, I have lots of time to deal with those public policy issues.”

Kenny:
“But, you’re scathing on the part of banks who are coming after people like you, you, very publicly.”

Yates: “Well, all I can say is that I so empathise with the waves of uncertainty, the harassment, you have no idea the sleepless nights, and just how awful it is to be on the receiving end of this, and it is a David and Goliath situation.”
Kenny: “But, you talk about them massaging the politicians and the mandarins and effectively, lying to them to cajole a guarantee out of The State and you’re saying, you know, they were more broke, than you were, really.”

Yates: “Well, in my view the Anglo Tapes revealed that the banks systematically minimized their losses in the presentation to Government to get small incremental amounts of capital, whereas, if they had said, we’re in a hole for 30 billion here, The State would have had a real choice. So, I do believe, and maybe that’s going on in terms of mortgage losses and so on, but all that is for another day. What I want to say to people is this, that I could not have gone through what I went through, without my pension, and I’m deeply appreciative of that, it’s about 3,000 a month. I have a self-awareness, nobody died, I have a lot to be thankful for and I just want to make a fresh start with my life.”

Kenny: “But if you look back to the banks and the way they may have cajoled and persuaded and even misled the mandarins and the politicians , you really have to say; well, The State should have been better at doing its job. It should have had the information to face down the mandarins and the bankers, as they attempted to win their guarantee.”

Yates: “I have all sorts of views about the nationalisation of the banks, I believe The State was duped by bankers in bankers’ interests. I believe that all public policy is about protecting the banks, and I believe it’s misguided. But Pat, to be honest with you, I’ve come from a harrowing sixteen months of desolation, isolation, self-inflicted, my comfort was in the bottom of a glass, I had no-one to speak to over there, I had no friends, I’d Skype Deirdre every night and I just want to re-start my life, there’s time for all those public policy issues later.”

Kenny: “Life in Wales, I mean, you said, the great joy of it, and it was the only joy, was anonymity, that people didn’t know who Ivan Yates was..”

Yates: “Yes, you would know all about that!”

Kenny: (laughs) “But the question of drinking, gambling, loneliness, all of that, people will say, well, you know, you ran away to there, you cold have faced the music and faced twelve years of bankruptcy here, or ultimately, if it was delayed enough, three years of bankruptcy here.”

Yates: “I believe the Irish insolvency system was dysfunctional, was draconian. The guy, the case officer I dealt with, the guy who took my cash out of my flat, he said, ‘Ivan, I want to tell you, the British system is based on difficult things happen to people, we believe in making an economic contribution to those human beings and getting them going again, I just wish the Irish insolvency system had the same attitude’. ”

Kenny: “Well, people say you took the cards way out, you fled, you went over there, you got out of the way, leaving others behind who had to live with this, if you like, the ignomy, what do you say to these people?”

Yates: “I say, I’m Irish, I’ll be buried in Enniscorthy, there’s never any doubt about that. EU law provides anyone with the opportunity I availed of [inaudible] I went through four or five court processes and I have found no wrong-doing, no moving around of assets, full tax-compliance as a director of ‘Celtic’, there’s no issue with the director of corporate enforcement. I believe I have fully complied with all laws and I’m just looking for a second chance.”

Listen here

Pic: Jason Clarke