Anglo bankers behind bars - but FitzPatrick central to case
Three former Anglo Irish Bank officials last night became the first bankers to be jailed since the onset of the financial crisis.
However, questions will now be raised as to why Anglo's former chairman Sean FitzPatrick did not stand trial after the prosecution claimed that he was "the thread that ran through all the charges".
The three officials will be sentenced at noon today. They were refused bail at Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court after they were found guilty by a unanimous jury of trying to hide accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick.
Tiarnan O'Mahoney, the bank's former Chief Operating Officer, and Bernard Daly, ex-company secretary, are facing a potential jail term of up to five years and/or a substantial fine for supplying incorrect information to the Revenue.
Aoife Maguire, a former assistant manager who did not hold an executive role at the bank, almost collapsed in the dock as all three were convicted on conspiracy charges, an 'at large' offence which attracts indeterminate sentences.
Mr FitPatrick's absence led to vociferous complaints by Mr O'Mahoney's defence team that he was "the man on the grassy knoll" or "Macavity the mystery cat".
"His paws are all over it, but there's no sign of him," said Brendan Grehan SC in his closing speech on behalf of Mr O'Mahoney, telling the jury it was "ironic" that the prosecution said Mr FitzPatrick was at the centre of the case even though he was not before the court.
The verdicts, which were delayed after an anonymous caller made a prank call to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday, come as the Banking Inquiry limps to a close after a debacle over the planned attendance by video link of former Anglo CEO David Drumm.
DPP Claire Loftus had to twice intervene to prevent the inquiry from receiving evidence via video link from Mr Drumm and from publishing a statement he submitted.
Mr Drumm is in the US, where he is fighting an extradition warrant.
Earlier this week, the Irish Independent revealed that Mr Drumm's extradition is being sought for alleged false accounting and conspiracy to defraud charges.
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