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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Ansbacher Accounts (Constantin Gurdgiev)

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Constantin Gurdgiev

Ansbacher Accounts

Precursors to the financial engineering shenanigans of the Celtic Tiger, Ansbacher accounts were born out of the high-tax era of the 1970s and 1980s. The accounts were set up and managed by the Ansbacher Cayman Limited – a banking licence-holding firm – run by Des Traynor, a director with Guinness & Mahon Bank, and an advisor to Taoiseach Charles Haughey. Ansbacher accounts facilitated tax evasion and avoidance by Irish elites, as well as by a number of ordinary small business owners and senior private and public sector employees. The scheme facilitated lodgement of funds in Ireland with Ansbacher Cayman. After this, the deposits were first registered to Cayman Islands, and then made available for clients’ withdrawals back in Ireland. By using the scheme, Irish clients were able to avoid Irish taxes. In addition to tax evasion, Ansbacher offered clients so-called back-to-back loans, which were secured by the deposits held ‘offshore’. These loans were subject to fraudulently claimed tax relief, netting their recipients double-savings on tax. In many cases, Ansbacher deposits involved black market funds, breaching more than tax laws alone, and acting as a money-laundering scheme.

The Ansbacher scheme continued to operate from 1971 through the mid-1990s, and was exposed in the McCracken Tribunal in 1997 that examined private payments to former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, and former Minister Michael Lowry. Subsequent to the McCracken Tribunal, Irish Revenue Commissioners undertook investigation of the Ansbacher accounts, starting with 1999 and lasting until 2013, recovering...

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