Anglo chief's laptop stolen
Garda probe after burglars raided house in broad daylight
Published 04/02/2011 | 05:00
A LAPTOP containing banking and personal information has been stolen from the home of Anglo Irish Bank chief executive Mike Aynsley.
The theft is being investigated by gardai, the Irish Independent has learned.
Three hooded males were captured on CCTV breaking into Mr Aynsley's south Dublin home in broad daylight in mid-November. Detectives have been unable to trace the thieves and the laptop remains missing.
The files on the computer were not encrypted, but did have password protection.
Security at 52-year-old Mr Aynsley's home was subsequently beefed up and other senior officials at Anglo have also been given personal security advice.
Details of the theft were kept under wraps as Anglo's security personnel tried to assess what information was contained on the stolen computer.
They concluded that while the laptop held banking and personal information, including around 70 emails, none of the material could be deemed "sensitive" in nature and none of it related to customers.
Nevertheless, the Data Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, was advised of the theft.
Individuals mentioned in the data were also contacted.
It is understood much of the information on the laptop was already in the possession of the European Commission, whose approval was needed on the restructuring of the bank and allowing it to receive multi-billion euro state aid payments.
Sources said the thieves behaved in a "professional" manner, wearing hooded tops and obscuring their faces. All were said to be "slightly built".
They broke into the house in Glenageary despite the presence of CCTV cameras, gaining entry by breaking down the back door.
However, there is no evidence to suggest that Mr Aynsley was specifically targeted. Other items, including a camera and an iPod, were also taken, lending weight to the theory that the motive was simply financial gain rather than an attempt to steal information.
There have been other thefts from houses in the area in recent months.
An informed source said senior Anglo executives were taking necessary precautions in light of public anger over the role of the bank in financial downturn.
These include personal security protocols which each executive must adhere to. The bank declined to comment in detail on the theft.
In a statement, it said: "A senior executive's home was burgled last November when a small number of personal items were taken including a laptop. The gardai were immediately alerted and are continuing to investigate."
Mr Aynsley, from Sydney in Australia, was appointed chief executive of the nationalised bank in August 2009.
He had previously worked in banking in Australia and Asia.
At the time of his appointment, Anglo had been without a chief executive for eight months following the resignation of David Drumm the previous December.
Mr Drumm quit after it emerged the bank had concealed loans of over €100m belonging to its former chairman Sean FitzPatrick.
Details of the laptop theft emerged just days after 10 laptops were stolen from a Revenue Commissioners' office.
The break-in occurred at the Revenue's offices on the Navan Road in north Dublin, where major investigations into tax evaders and gangland criminals are conducted.
Two separate investigations into the theft were launched by the gardai and the Data Commissioner. All of the stolen laptops were encrypted.
It is unclear whether the break-in was carried out by criminals seeking to resell the laptops or by figures seeking to disrupt tax evasion and criminal investigations.