Saturday 25 March 2017

Banker who took own life linked to fraud probe

Ex-Anglo executive looked after €3m in deposits at centre of inquiry

Jim Cusack and Maeve Sheehan

A FORMER executive with Anglo Irish Bank who died tragically more than three weeks ago has been drawn into a garda fraud investigation into the disappearance of at least €3m from deposits.

The former executive with the bank, Edward Grealis, is believed to have looked after a number of the Anglo deposits affected by the alleged fraud, according to sources.

Mr Grealis, 45, who was married with a young family, was a senior treasury manager with Anglo Irish Bank for several years. He was found dead in a farm outbuilding on Achill Island earlier this month after taking his own life. He had earlier attended the funeral of an elderly relative.

The alleged fraud came to light in the past fortnight after a customer reported irregularities in an account to AIB. The accounts had been taken over by AIB as part of the €8.6bn transfer of deposits from Anglo, which is being wound down.

AIB reported the matter to gardai who began a fraud investigation last week.

Sources say it is too early to ascertain how much money is missing as there were complex movements of money around several accounts. It is thought one of the accounts held deposits from a large credit union.

AIB said it had begun its own investigation to trace the missing funds and insisted that customers would suffer no financial loss. Anglo is also assisting with AIB's investigation.

A source said AIB had been unable to quantify exactly how much money was missing but figures of between €3m and €5m have been reported. Bank sources said it appeared that sums of money were taken from a number of deposit accounts and sums were moved between accounts to cover the thefts.

Gardai will be examining whether bank records were falsified to show that funds were held on deposit when the money had been moved elsewhere. It is understood that the alleged fraud had been going on for some time, with cash being transferred from account to account, avoiding detection as the accounts matured.

In its statement, AIB said: "As a result of a recent customer enquiry, AIB began an investigation into whether any fraud occurred in a small number of transactions concerning certain discrete funds in the deposit book that was acquired from Anglo Irish Bank."

The death of Mr Grealis -- who was one of a large family with strong roots in the area -- shocked Achill Island and west Mayo. He left behind his wife Siobhan and their four young children.

Mr Grealis's father died last year and his mother and a sister were still living in the family home, locals said.

He was well regarded and travelled regularly from his home in Galway, where he worked at the Galway city bank offices.

Mr Grealis was involved in Barna GAA club, which posted tributes to him after his death, describing him as an integral part of the club.

He was buried in Achill cemetery on Friday, July 8.

Sunday Independent

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