More than 350 grilled in bank probe
MORE than 350 people have now been interviewed by gardai investigating allegations of financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank.
It is the most complex white-collar crime investigation ever undertaken in the State, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern confirmed yesterday.
He told the Dail he had been advised there were 10 strands to the inquiries being carried out jointly by the Garda Fraud Bureau and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).
It required the analysis of a huge range of records with over 100,000 documents, including emails and phone and bank records, being examined.
The minister said it was inevitable in a case like this that the witness statements taken from the 350 plus people were extremely lengthy.
Search warrants and court orders had been executed and persons arrested for questioning. Enquiries were also taking place outside the State.
He said he was being kept fully briefed by Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and it was clear that a huge amount of work had already been undertaken. Pointing out that "the reprehensible events at Anglo Irish Bank have caused enormous damage to the country", he said there was a clear and overwhelming public interest that, where it was shown that anyone involved in those events had broken the law, they should face justice.
He said the investigation involved 27 gardai and 16 officers of the ODCE and the Director of Public Prosecutions had retained two senior and one junior counsel to advise them.
He was unable to state when the investigation would be completed because investigators were still following avenues being opened up by their ongoing inquiries but he had been assured by the commissioner that the Gardai had no higher priority than completing this investigation.
However, sources close to the investigation told the Irish Independent last month that it was hoped that a file would be completed and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the end of the year.
Statements are still being taken from some of the key players in the investigation, while witnesses from international bankers Morgan Stanley are filing affidavits in a London court.