Friday 22 September 2017

Anglo auditor 'not aware' of refinanced FitzPatrick loans

Mr Bergin said he was not aware of any of these documents or financial transactions while in charge of the audits. Stock picture
Mr Bergin said he was not aware of any of these documents or financial transactions while in charge of the audits. Stock picture

Declan Brennan

A former auditor of Anglo Irish Bank has said that he was not aware at the time of the audits of documents that suggested that multi-million euro loans linked to Sean FitzPatrick were temporarily refinanced.

The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court previously heard loans taken out by Mr FitzPatrick (68), his wife and family members increased from about €10m in 2002 to about €100m in 2007.

It is the State's case that these loans were "artificially reduced" for a period of two weeks around the bank's financial end-of-year statement by short-term loans from other sources, including Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS).

Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, previously said the prosecution was about the alleged failure by the bank's former chairman to disclose the extent of these loans to auditors in the years 2002 to 2007. Mr FitzPatrick has denied all charges.

Vincent Bergin, partner with audit firm EY (previously Ernst & Young) and who led the audit of Anglo for the years 2005 to 2008, continued his evidence.

Mr McGinn showed the witness documentation of deposit accounts, loan facilities and loan accounts in the name of the accused and his wife Triona FitzPatrick for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. They included letters from INBS offering loans for cash amounts. These letters stated that the purpose of the loans was to refinance existing arrangements with Anglo.

The jury saw that by September 2007 INBS was confirming short-term loans to Mr FitzPatrick and his wife involving tranches of more than €62m, $56m and UK£14m. In Anglo's accounts in the same year the total amount of loans to all directors of the bank was noted as being almost €41m.

Mr Bergin said he was not aware of any of these documents or financial transactions while in charge of the audits.

Asked how the documentation would have affected the audit process, he said: "I think we would have asked follow-up questions as to what exactly was happening."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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