Financial Regulator office probed
Controversial IL&P/Anglo transfer of €7.2bn deposits will be centre of investigation
Gardai have spoken to staff from the Financial Regulator over what they knew about the €7.2bn in deposits which went between Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) in September 2008.
The role of the regulator in the transactions is becoming crucial to the garda investigation. Both Anglo Irish and IL&P claim the regulator, in asking for banks to support each other during 2008, approved of such transactions. The regulator has denied this.
The investigators are probing whether staff were aware of how the deposits, given to Anglo by IL&P in three tranches, were then presented in Anglo's financial year-end results. The background to this transaction is also being probed. Contacts between the regulator's staff and Anglo in the period after the year-end closed are also being looked at.
Sean FitzPatrick, the former Anglo chairman, was quizzed about the controversial transaction last week in Bray Garda Station, although it is understood he was able to provide little information on it.
Most of the meetings between the Financial Regulator and Anglo in September 2008 about the transactions were attended by David Drumm, chief executive and other executives, according to documents seen by the Irish Independent.
Phone calls between Anglo and the regulator also took place in this period and Anglo has retained copies of the transcripts. It is understood they are also in the possession of the gardai.
The Financial Regulator said yesterday: "These matters are the subject of a criminal investigation and it would be wholly inappropriate for the Financial Regulator or Central Bank to comment publicly''.
The Financial Regulator started its own investigation into the transactions last year, but has since stepped aside in favour of the gardai and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
On February 25, the regulator issued the following statement: "We have been involved in a number of investigations in relation to Anglo and have reached a point where we have concluded that certain matters are of such a serious nature that it was appropriate that they be referred to the gardai. We will, of course, fully assist the gardai with their investigations."
The auditors to Anglo Irish during 2008, Ernst & Young, were unavailable for comment yesterday on whether its staff have yet spoken to investigators.