Meet Craig Beaumont who has been the IMF Mission Chief for Irelandsince March 2011, according to his apparent LinkedIn CV (I say “apparent” because LinkedIn will allow any old rubbish to be published on their website, including bogus CVs – this one looks genuine though). Craig doesn’t have a biographical note or photograph on the IMF senior personnel webpages but there is a photograph of him on his way into Ireland’s Department of Finance, here.
Two weeks ago the IMF held a press conference on Ireland where Craig responded to a question on Ireland burden-sharing the cost of repaying bondholders in zombified Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society (now merged and renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation); and this was part of his response “the amount of senior unsecured debt has declined to a rather modest sum so that I don’t think that it makes a material difference.”
In fact, it – the amount of senior unsecured debt – totals some €3bn or 2% of our GDP. . And remember that for Ireland, it is our GNP which is a better indication of national income because it excludes multinational income which is effectively laundered through the Irish tax system, and on a GNP basis, the remaining senior bond payments in IBRC are closer to 2.5%.On 25th January, 2012, Anglo Irish Bank (or more correctly the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, IBRC) is set to pay €1,250m to unsecured unguaranteed senior bondholders. The bond – reference XS0283695228, details here – was originally issued on 25th January 2007 and despite Minister Noonan’s bold announcements in the US last summer, it is set to be repaid in full; this is largest single payment remaining of the €3bn in total.
So, according to Craig these payments are “rather modest”. Just imagine if Craig turned up in the UK and suggested to the UK government that it pay €36bn (2% of the UK GDP of GBP 1.5tn using current exchange rates) to creditors of bust banks! We probably don’t have to imagine; we already saw theUKreaction to providing a €50bn loan – “loan”,mind you: in other words there’s a good likelihood of getting the money back – to the IMF as part of a €200bn European contribution to a fund to help mostly EuroZone countries. I wonder what the reaction in Paris or Berlin/Frankfurt would be, if it was suggested that a payment by either country to bondholders in a thoroughly zombified bank be made, and that further, such a payment was “rather modest”? 2% of French GDP is about €40bn; 2% of German GDP is about €60bn
And yet when Craig waved away 2% of our GDP as “rather modest”, there was not a peep from our politicians – either Government or Opposition.
Craig will be back in Ireland next week, from 12th January as part of the next troika review of the bailout programme. Maybe he might be called on to provide a further explanation of his “rather modest” comments.