Anglo Irish Bank says sale of U.S. assets was government-induced

June 23, 2011 12:14PM

Anglo Irish Bank has defended itself against a lawsuit filed by New York-based Fir Tree Partners, which sought to force the bank to honor its debt obligation. According to Bloomberg News, the bank argued that its acquisition of Irish Nationwide Building Society and its sale of a U.S. loan portfolio were “non-commercial, sovereign acts” forced by the Irish government. Fir Tree owns $200 million of notes the bank issued in the U.S., and filed the suit because it doesn’t want the bank to transfer any U.S. assets out of the country, for fear the debts won’t be repaid. The state-owned bank recently received a $42 billion bailout, and disclosed its transactions after a U.S. judge ordered it to do so. The bank said the transactions were consistent with that they had reported in court. In separate news, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the Anglo Irish Bank’s credit rating to CCC, just four levels above default, according to Bloomberg, as the agency believes its senior, non-guaranteed debt holders are in jeopardy of not being repaid. [Bloomberg and Bloomberg]