It was Friday 13th when the Tynwald Select Committee - inquiring into the collapse of the Kaupthing IoM bank - questioned the bank's directors.
In front of them was Aidan Doherty, Managing Director, Donald Gelling CBE, who was twice Chief Minister of the IoM government, John Cashen ex Chief Finance Officer at the IoM Treasury, and Andrew Davies, financial director.
10,000 expats & others throughout the world thought people of such high standing who were heading up the bank could be entrusted with their life savings. These directors had used their status to promote the integrity of KSFIoM as a bank that would take care of savings entrusted to its care.
Alas! once the bank had gone bust the best they could do was to say, 13 months after the event, that they had done nothing wrong and that the blame for the collapse of the bank was that of the UK Financial Services Authority that they claimed was sheltering behind a "cloud of secrecy".
HOGWASH! This is the sort of superficial nonsense that brings contempt for bank managers from the public & generates huge distrust in the banking system. It is this very act of directors claiming that they were right to put £557million of the bank' liquid assets into Kaupthing UK that is helping to sink further the trustworthiness of the Isle of Man as a safe place to deposit one’s life savings.
Aidan Doherty said in the bank’s glossy blurb back in 2007 “No one knows what the future will bring but we can stand by you when it comes.” He didn't. Not only did he not do so, but he never did the honourable thing at the time or since by offering an apology for the decision to put £557million of depositors' money into a failing sister bank that promptly went into receivership.
Had he & his colleagues been told by their lawyers to keep their mouths firmly shut? Had they been instructed to cover their rears by finding words of explanation that would put the entire blame elsewhere? Was this the amoral ploy of old that even when you know you are to blame always plead innocent & let the innocent party have the task of proving otherwise?
John Aspden, Chief Executive of the FSC, has already been weighed & found wanting in the eyes of the dispossessed depositors. Now the directors join him in the gallery of those who have sought to save their own skins in the pathetically thin defence of their actions which in the view of depositors was a failure to exercise due dilligence with their hard-earned savings.
What is beyond dispute is the innocent people in the Kaupthing fiasco are the disposssessed depositors. The evidence of the Depositors' Action Group submitted to the Select Committee clearly shows up the true facts behind the actions & decisions of the FSC & the bank's directors. It may be downloaded from the DAG Company's website http://www.ksfiomdag.com HERE
Depositors are trusting this Tynwald Select Committee to demonstrate the highest standard of objective scrutiny of the facts in order that truth & justice will prevail. The credibility & integrity of this British Crown dependency will stand or fall on the outcome of this inquiry into the biggest banking failure in the history of this offshore financial centre.