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#DOBvSBP Tom Lyons, formerly of Sunday Business Post, has resumed giving evidence in High Court. McDowell SC, for SBP, is taking Lyons through his articles in SBP on March 15, 2015 line by line.
#DOBvSBP McDowell is asking Lyons to decipher source of each comment/point. Most answers from Lyons: The PwC report. More here: broadsheet.ie/2019/02/12/mea…
#DOBvSBP Jury is hearing Mr Lyons give context for figures he says were in PwC report. He explains Anglo Irish Bank would have had loanbook of €100bn and were saying they were worried about just 0.6% of this. He says AIB was saying it was only worried about 1% of its loan book
#DOBvSBP McDowell reads line: "A tiny loan with a provision of just €100,000 (owed by a businessman with no property exposure) was laughably enough to make it into Anglo’s top 20 impaired loans list. Top of Anglo’s provision list was a relatively small developer on whom the..."
#DOBvSBP"... bank fretted it might lose €15.7 million. This was peanuts compared to the real losses facing Anglo." Lyons says figures came from the PwC report while the use of "laughable" was his term. He tells jury: "I thought it was fair to conclude it was pretty laughable."
#DOBvSBP Lyons also clarifies that the term "peanuts" was also from him. He tells the jury the bank went on to lose €30billion.
#DOBvSBP McDowell still taking Lyons through articles. Lyons mentions he has since met, spent considerable time with and interviewed two other ppl on the list of 22 - Sean Mulryan and David Daly - and that neither of them ever raised concerns about his articles of March 15, 2015
#DOBvSBP McD refers to pages in SBP which have breakout pieces on each of the 22 ppl named. McD asks Lyons about him writing about DOB. Lyons said DOB was an "upstanding individual who got caught up in the crisis" and he had met every debt and "ultimately paid back everything"
#DOBvSBP Jury hears in the SBP article, Mr Lyons wrote: "O’Brien he went on to repay all his debts to Anglo. He is one of AIB and Bank of Ireland’s best clients."
#DOBvSBP McD puts to Lyons that it has been suggested by DOB that he was the "odd man out" and that he should never have been put in the newspaper article about the 22 borrowers and that it was "defamatory, gratuitous, unnecessary" and done of out of "malice"
#DOBVSBP Lyons: "Jesus, that’s nonsense." Lyons said DOB was in articles because PwC put him in their report. He said idea that he just stuck DOB into it is "utterly nonsense". Lyons: "He's in the report because PwC put him in there."
#DOBvSBP McD puts to Lyons "He had not been subject of a malicious invention…his response was he didn’t know as he didn’t see the [PwC] report and couldn't put it past you that you [Lyons] might have." McD asked how he felt about DOB's latter point.
#DOBvSBP Lyons: "I found that statement pretty shocking." Lyons said DOB was "suggesting this crazy conspiracy" that he and Ian Kehoe (ex-editor of SBP) had made their PwC report story up in 2015 and that he and Nick Webb (ex of Sindo) made their Anglo borrowers story up in 2012
#DOBvSBP Lyons: "Why on Earth would we do that? We didn’t." Lyons adds: "I don’t believe that he can seriously believe that he wasn’t in that list."
#DOBvSBP McDowell asked Lyons why he destroyed his copy of the PwC report. Lyons said (as he said yesterday) that it was 100% to protect his source. He said some reports can be traceable and sometimes what look like typos are actually a secret means to trace a document/report
#DOBvSBP McDowell is going through the legal correspondence the SBP received from DOB's solicitor after publication of Lyons's articles in March 2015.
#DOBvSBP (By the way, Lyons said he destroyed the PwC report by putting it in a shredder in the SBP office)
#DOBvSBP McDowell pointed out that the legal letter alleged that Lyons had published "egregious" material against Denis O'Brien based on a report that had been "illegally obtained". McD asks Lyons if he believed he had acted illegally. Lyons: "No I didn't".
#DOBvSBP Lyons tells the jury: "He [Denis O'Brien] thinks it’s all about him. It’s not." Lyons said the articles were about Ireland and what happened to Ireland.
#DOBvSBP The legal letter claimed that the SBP knew "full well" that Denis O'Brien was NOT a property developer and that, instead, he worked in telecoms/communications/media. Lyons tells McDowell: "We thought he was a property developer."
#DOBvSBP McD reads out that that letter [from Meagher solicitors] claimed that the SBP "chose to ignore this fact [that he wasn't a property developer] to shoehorn" Denis O'Brien into their coverage and "to make him a central figure of your story".
#DOBvSBP The letter stated that this was "cynical", "gratuitous" and cast an "unwarranted slur" on Denis O'Brien and his business interests. Lyons said this was "completely untrue". Lyons tells McDowell: "He was in the PwC report...we were professional, analytical and diligent."
#DOBvSBP The letter, McD said, claimed the SPB articles suggested Denis O'Brien was "guilty of wrongdoing" and that the PwC report contained something improper or illegal that he wanted hidden from public, and that as a borrower from Anglo he was responsible for the bailout...
#DOBvSBP McD said the letter also claimed that the SBP articles suggested Denis O'Brien was a "failed businessman". McDowell to Lyons: "Did you think to or intend to write anything like that?" Lyons: "No, completely the opposite."
#DOBvSBP McD said the letter also claimed that the SBP's decision to publish private banking matters pertaining to Mr O'Brien were a breach of his rights, including under the Data Protection Act.
#DOBvSBP McD said letter stated they [Meagher sols] "for obvious reasons" were "not privy" to PwC reports but they had had sight of a PwC summary report in 2009 and that that stated "unauthorised disclosures" remains "prohibited" under several acts, including Data Protection Act
#DOBvSBP McD asked Lyons if there were notes like that in the PwC report he had reported on. Lyons said there were "caveats like that" but he said the SBP decided to publish details fro the report because "this is information that's 7 years old and in the public interest".
#DOBvSBP McD said Meagher solicitors put it to the SBP that their decision to publish was "calculated and considered". Asked about this line in the letter, Lyons said: "Absolutely we considered it, we thought a lot about it. We were diligent...we didn’t just throw it up."
#DOBvSBP McD said Meagher solicitors said looking across the articles, they weren't about "our client" but were about Ireland's banks and the economy. They said writing about Denis O'Brien in that context was a "a bare contrivance".
#DOBvSBP McD to Lyons: "Was it a contrivance?" Lyons: "It wasn’t a contrivance. His name was in the PwC report." Lyons picks up on Meagher solicitor's point that "taken in it's totality" it wasn't about Denis O'Brien. Lyons says: "I agree...this was about Ireland and the crash."
#DOBvSBP McD to Lyons: "Was he the odd man out?"

Lyons: "No, he wasn’t. He was put there by PwC and he was put there at number 10. These were the instructions of the Government - to draw up a list of the top borrowers and that's what PwC did."
#DOBvSBP The case will proceed from 2.15pm (after lunch). McDowell is still taking Tom Lyons through his evidence.
#DOBvSBP EARLIER today there was an exchange over Siobhan Creaton's biography about Denis O'Brien.
#DOBvSBP It came up yesterday while Denis O'Brien was giving evidence. This is because Michael McDowell, for the SBP, put it to DOB that Ms Creaton had used the term "gang" in her book in reference to DOB. [DOB is objecting to being referred to as being in a "gang" of 22 by SBP]
#DOBvSBP DOB (yesterday) told McD that had "never even read the book" and did not cooperate with it. McD quipped to DOB: "One of the benefits of greatness is that you don’t have to read the only biography about you that’s been published."
#DOBvSBP This morning McD asked Lyons who would have written the term "gang of 22". Lyons said he and his editor at the time Ian Kehoe would have done so. Asked what they meant by term "gang", Lyons said: "Group. It’s very obviously not a reference to criminality."
#DOBvSBP Lyons said this was a group of people about whom he'd agree with Denis O'Brien - that they were "pretty decent guys". Lyons said some of these people "got it wrong" while, for others, things turned out very well. Lyons said (again) DOB "paid back his loans".
#DOBvSBP Lyons then raised Siobhan Creaton's book and said he had found it "hard to believe" that DOB hasn't read it. He said the book even thanks Paul Meagher (of Megher's solicitors). Lyons pointed out that there's six references to DOB being in a "gang".
#DOBvSBP Paul O'Higgins SC, for DOB, objected to this being raised and said this 'six gang reference' should have been raised with DOB yesterday.
#DOBvSBP McD pointed out he did raise the book yesterday and had said he was referred to being in a gang in the book but that he [DOB] said he hadn't read the book. O'Higgins said McD "knows what his regulations are".
#DOBEventually The matter was dropped and Tom Lyons' copy of the book was given to DOB's legal team. Lyons pointed out that he had marked up the book with yellow stickers/Post-its.
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