Tuesday 23 May 2017

Anglo told to sue ex-staff over password obstruction

Former top Anglo employees who refuse to hand-over computer passwords should be sued, it was claimed today.

The state's corporate watchdog claimed the massive two-year fraud investigation into the scandal-hit lender has been delayed because it is unable to examine key files.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny demanded the nationalised bank take civil action against ex-staff, claiming there was no urgency by Government to go after reckless bankers.

"You own Anglo Irish Bank," Mr Kenny told Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

"This information in these encrypted files is critical and may be the vital information in respect of prosecuting people for criminal or illegal activities.

"I want to know Taoiseach why have you not instructed Anglo Irish Bank to take a civil action and bring these people to court so that this information can be made available to the public."

Lawyers for the Director of Corporate Enforcement Paul Appleby told the High Court yesterday they wanted passwords for 50 documents but Anglo could only supply 20.

A Garda fraud investigation has so far examined 150,000 e-mails, phone records and other communications and taken up to 400 witness statements.

It is understood to be examining 10 strands of illegal activity at the bank.

In the Dail, Mr Kenny said the ex-Anglo workers were trying to obstruct the course of justice.

But Mr Cowen said the state could not interfere in the probe, which he claimed was the biggest in the history of the state.

"It is not correct to say that the Government is in a position to interfere in relation to the conduct of the investigation," the Taoiseach said.

"That's not correct. But we want to see this matter dealt with as quickly as possible."

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy last week said a decision on whether charges would be brought in the Anglo probe would be known by the end of the year.

The investigations team is made up of 27 gardai and 16 officers from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. The DPP has also retained two Senior Counsel and one junior to advise investigators.

Two arrests have been made - former chief executive Sean FitzPatrick and financial director William McAteer - but no charges have been brought.

Meanwhile, Mr Cowen again denied he discussed the difficulties faced by Anglo at a private dinner in April 2008 - five months before the state guaranteed the banks.

He said he had nothing to hide and reports suggesting otherwise were not true.

"There was no discussion in relation to details of Anglo Irish Bank at that meeting," Mr Cowen said.

"I spoke generally about the economy, there was nothing specific about Anglo Irish Bank in relation to that matter at all."

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