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Saturday 25 March 2017

AIB alerts gardai to missing €3m Anglo deposits

Ex-official at disgraced bank suspected of theft

Charlie Weston and Shane Phelan

ALLIED Irish Bank (AIB) last night insisted depositors would not lose out after it was forced to call in garda fraud officers to investigate the disappearance of €3m in customers' money.

The disappearance of the money was discovered after Anglo Irish Bank's deposits were transferred to AIB earlier this year.

Some €8.6bn in deposits held by Anglo were transferred to AIB as part of the restructuring of the institution.

The movement of the money last February was a condition of Ireland's bailout agreement with the EU and the IMF.

It was subsequently discovered that around €3m of money previously held in Anglo was unaccounted for.

It is believed the sum was stolen from a number of deposit accounts at Anglo by a former official at the disgraced bank.

The Anglo official, who was based in Dublin, is suspected of moving large sums of money between accounts to cover the thefts.

It is suspected he avoided detection by ensuring that funds were available for accounts that matured.

The man at the centre of the allegations has since died, according to banking sources.

AIB said it reported the matter to gardai and has also informed the Central Bank.

A spokesman for AIB said it had begun an investigation and insisted that customers would not suffer any financial loss.

The fact that money was missing emerged two weeks ago when a customer at AIB noticed an irregularity in a deposit account and contacted the bank.

In a statement, AIB said it had begun an investigation into whether any fraud occurred.

The bank said it found issues with a small number of transactions in a number of funds.

"AIB and Anglo Irish Bank are collaborating closely on the investigation and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) and the Central Bank have been informed," a spokesman for AIB said.

Gardai confirmed the matter had been referred to the GBFI.

An investigation is expected to probe the transactions and whether the former bank official acted alone or had accomplices.

Efforts will also be made to trace the missing funds and see if they can be recovered.

It is understood gardai have yet to formally interview anyone in connection with the missing funds.

Investigation

The latest inquiry is unrelated to a two-year investigation into Anglo by officers from the GBFI and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

A number of files have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

However, the probe has yet to lead to any criminal charges being pressed.

Among other issues, the existing investigation is focused on loans made by Anglo in 2008 to a so-called 'golden circle' of bank customers to enable them to buy its shares, and a €7bn-plus 'back-to-back' deposit arrangement between Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent Group which distorted the true value of Anglo's deposit book during 2008.

A court heard earlier this year that the failure of several banking figures to cooperate with investigators was impeding progress.

These include former Anglo chief executive David Drumm, who has refused to return home from the US to face questioning.

Irish Independent

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