iLocal News Archives

Des Traynor – Irish elite’s top money manager [he sent millions to Cayman Islands]

image copyBy Gareth Morgan From Independent.IE

DesS Traynor was the man who managed money for many of Ireland’s most important people – and sent millions offshore to destinations such as the Cayman Islands.

He moved money through a complex series of accounts and companies in a bid to avoid scrutiny.

Mr Traynor was dubbed “Charlie’s Bag Man” for the work he did for the late Taoiseach Charlie Haughey, who became deeply embroiled in the Ansbacher scandal.

Mr Traynor set up offshore Ansbacher accounts, allowing hundreds of well-heeled individuals, including Haughey, to evade tax. His role in administering funds which paid for Haughey’s lavish lifestyle was closely probed by the Moriarty Tribunal.

He conducted most of his business discreetly in the corner of hotel lobbies, and scrupulously cut the letter heading off Ansbacher statements before sending them out to his clients.

Mr Traynor started life as a chartered accountant with Haughey Boland, and later worked for the building materials group CRH, which he helped turn into a multinational conglomerate.

Joan Williams, who was Mr Traynor’s secretary for more than 20 years, gave the tribunal details of how Mr Traynor was running business from the premises.

Ms Williams told the tribunal that Mr Traynor kept a computer and filing cabinets dedicated to Ansbacher in his office at CRH, in Fitzwilliam Square. She said she had no direct knowledge of how the Ansbacher loan arrangements were run.

Despite his complex offshore dealings, Mr Traynor kept much of his own £1.7m fortune in ICS building society. When he died peacefully at his home in Howth Road, Dublin, in May 1994 aged 62, he had stocks and bonds valued at £889,318.

It would appear that he scrupulously paid his income tax and PRSI, and the Revenue Commissioners were so impressed with his financial housekeeping that following his death they gave his estate a tax rebate of more than £7,000. However, in 2007, Traynor’s estate made a settlement of over €4m with the tax authorities.

For more on this story go to:


Related story:

Tax evasion at heart of allegations by whistleblower

By Martin Wall, Fiach Kelly From The Irish Times

Prominent politicians at centre of claims by department official

At the heart of the allegations put forward by Department of Enterprise and Jobs official Gerry Ryan is a contention that a number of prominent former Fianna Fáil politicians and at least one former prominent Fine Gael politician engaged in significant tax evasion over an extended period of time dating back to the 1970s.

Separately he has maintained that his investigations into these issues were blocked.

The allegations set out by Ryan are linked directly to the Ansbacher accounts scandal which emerged nearly 15 years ago.

Ansbacher was a bank in the Cayman Islands, but the nominally offshore money in the deposits was in fact held in Guinness & Mahon Bank on Dublin’s College Green.

Official investigations found that the Cayman trusts were in fact under the control of the Irish people who placed money in them, rather than the Cayman trustees who should properly have had control. The supposedly offshore money could be withdrawn by wealthy depositors at Guinness & Mahon’s premises.

An official report in 2002 identified about 200 Ansbacher account-holders.

However, Ryan contended he had uncovered evidence in 2003 and 2004 that former Fianna Fáil and some Fine Gael politicians were the beneficial owners of Cayman accounts in a secret Ansbacher ledger, the details of which had never come into the public domain.

Ryan maintained in a briefing document which he forwarded to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he had obtained this evidence from interviews conducted with former Guinness & Mahon personnel.

He said a transcript of an interview with one member of the bank staff indicated she had kept a list of the names of the Fianna Fáil politicians and a separate list of “their substantial Cayman account balances”.

He said the accounts department staff member would match up these lists with Sellotape when Des Traynor, who was on the board of Guinness & Mahon, would ask for a list of the balances.

“The listing of names of the beneficial owners of these Cayman accounts was always kept in a separate safe to the list of the balances so that, if one fell into the wrong hands, no one would be able to match the senior politicians with their account balances,” he wrote. This was referred to as the “black briefcase”.

Secret ledger

Ryan said a former bank official had stated that on a number of occasions in 1977 and 1978 she had had sight of a list of names and account balances in the “very secret Cayman ledger”.

He said the former bank official had identified the names of nine senior Fianna Fáil politicians on the list.

These individuals are named in Ryan’s document given to the PAC.

The bank official also maintained, according to Ryan, that she had recognised the name of a prominent Fine Gael politician as being the beneficial owner of one of the accounts in the secret Cayman ledger.

He also contended that there had been Fine Gael connections to Traynor which had not been examined by various investigations over the years.

He also said a judge had been a client of Traynor’s in Guinness & Mahon.

When details of the dossier emerged yesterday the initial reaction in political circles was that given Ryan had cited the new whistleblowers’ legislation he must be given a fair hearing.

This could happen at a closed hearing of the PAC – similar to that afforded to Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe – with the transcript of the meeting remaining private.

The Oireachtas said PAC members “received a copy of what may well be a ‘protected disclosure’ for the purposes of the Protected Disclosure Act 2014”.

“This is the first occasion on which documentation has been received by the members in question under the 2014 Act,” the statement added, saying the PAC would take legal advice on the issue next week.

There was also surprise at some of the names included in the dossier, but those involved in the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats government, during the term of which Ryan carried out his investigations, insisted they had dealt with his allegations appropriately. One senior figure from that period said all the claims had been passed to the relevant authorities.

While there was a feeling last night among Government and Fianna Fáil figures that there may be nothing much to fear from the dossier, it still has the potential to cause political controversy.

IMAGE: Guinness & Mahon board member Des Traynor. Photograph: Joe St Leger

For more on this story go to:



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *