Sunday 21 December 2014

Criminal cases out of Anglo probe could drag on for years, judge told

Tim Healy

Published 14/01/2014 | 02:30

CRIMINAL proceedings arising from the investigation into the collapse of the former Anglo Irish Bank could run for several years when the right to appeal is taken into account, the High Court has been told.

Further charges arising from the probe by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) may also be brought, Mr Justice Peter Kelly heard. The judge said he would extend the investigation for another year -- but not for the three years sought by the ODCE.

The court is to review the position in January 2015.

Out of the five issues being investigated, the probe has completed three, with criminal proceedings initiated by the DPP. But matters are continuing "at a rather slow pace" in relation to the remaining two issues, he noted.

The three areas where investigations are complete relate to alleged breaches of Section 60 of the Companies Act, alleged director transactions including refinancing, and alleged back-to- back deposit arrangements with the Irish Life & Permanent group at the end of Anglo's financial year in September 2008.

The judge was told the first criminal trial arising from the investigation is expected to open on February 4, with jury selection to begin on January 31.

That trial involves former Anglo Chairman Sean FitzPatrick and former executives William McAteer and Pat Whelan. All three have been charged with offences under Section 60 of the Companies Act.

CHARGED

Three other former senior bank officials -- Dennis Casey and Peter Fitzpatrick, respectively the former CEO and finance director of IL&P, and John Bowe, formerly of Anglo -- were charged last December in connection with the alleged back-to-back deposits transactions. All three were charged with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law.

Mr Bowe, a former head of capital markets at Anglo, faced an additional charge that on December 3, 2008, he made use of a false account contrary to the Theft and Fraud Act.

The three were remanded on bail until March 12 when a book of evidence will be produced. Their case is unlikely to be heard this year.

The two issues proceeding at a slow pace concern the provision of a loan to a former director in circumstances which may be contrary to common law and the Companies Act and the communication of possible false or misleading information in certain Anglo public statements in 2008 which may constitute breaches of the EU Transparency Directive and other regulations.

Additional investigative work on the director's loan issue was completed in February 2013 and a further file was then sent to the DPP, the court heard.

Irish Independent

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