Anglo charges, if any, need full agreement
Published 03/11/2011 | 05:00
Who would have thought a core principle from the Northern Ireland peace process would be the chief reason investigators have taken so long to complete the Anglo Irish investigation.
The principle -- that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed -- is the crucial factor in how long it has taken the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation to finish its investigations.
The bureau, the director of corporate enforcement Paul Appleby and the DPP have decided that any charges against ex-Anglo directors -- if they happen -- must happen together. As a result, all strands of their investigation must be concluded at the same time, even though some have finished months ago.
This approach brings its frustrations. The bureau gave a file on the Anglo -- Irish Life & Permanent deposits to the DPP back in December 2010 and a second file went over in May 2011. Any updates go to the DPP in small "modular'' instalments -- in other words the main work is done.
The Sean FitzPatrick loans are even more curious. The obscuring of directors' loans from shareholders by Mr FitzPatrick was confirmed by Mr FitzPatrick himself in December 2009. It does seem bizarre that it has taken so long to have that strand of the investigation completed, but again it is held up until the more contested strands are firmed up.
Arrests of people like Willie McAteer simply underline the fact that the team have yet to level a single charge against anyone who previously worked at the bank. The investigation team can explain this away, but in this case explaining is losing.