Gardai to interview key figures in bank for second time
KEY figures in Anglo Irish Bank -- including former chairman Sean FitzPatrick -- are to be interviewed again by gardai, the Irish Independent has learned.
The revelation comes as gardai prepare to move into the final phase of their investigation into alleged financial irregularities at the bank.
Fraud bureau detectives and investigators from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement are to put a series of queries to the bank executives about issues at the centre of their inquiries.
These include the suspected shifting of large sums of cash between secret Anglo accounts here and offshore and the reasons for the transfers.
It is also alleged that after the money had been shifted, the offshore accounts were closed and efforts made to eliminate all traces of their existence.
Some of the figures have not been interviewed previously but others, including Mr FitzPatrick, have already been interrogated by detectives about other aspects of the joint investigation.
Investigators will also shortly interview the Financial Regulator and his staff on whether they had advance knowledge of the bank funding the purchase of its own shares.
This will focus in particular on the sale of shares, formerly controlled by businessman Sean Quinn, to a group of Anglo's developer clients, who subsequently became known as the Maple 10.
The sale was funded by loans from Anglo to the developers.
It was organised by international investment bank Morgan Stanley, which is not under suspicion and is regarded as an innocent party.
Senior staff at Morgan Stanley have already given evidence to investigators through affidavits lodged in the High Court in London, under a mutual assistance agreement between here and the UK.
A senior counsel, assigned to the Anglo investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), travelled to London yesterday to cross-examine the witnesses about the details contained in their affidavits.
The outcome of the cross-examination will then be digested by investigators before moving on to look closely at the role, if any, played by the Financial Regulator, or his representatives, before details of the share placing became public knowledge.
Investigators are satisfied with the progress achieved in recent months and the massive amount of evidence already gathered.
But they are pressing ahead with their attempts to open up computer files, currently locked by passwords that have not been made available by former Anglo staff.
Gardai believe they will eventually be able to open all of the files, even if the passwords are not provided.
Officers are on target to ensure that three of the five main issues under investigation are completed by the end of next month and the rest in March.
A garda file is expected to be ready to hand over to the DPP at the start of the new year and Commercial Court judge, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, indicated last week that he anticipated the DPP should be able to decide earlier than normal in a complex probe on whether criminal charges are warranted.
In this case, the judge pointed out, the DPP already had a lot of information through the day-to-day involvement of his lawyers in the inquiries.