Friday 21 October 2016

Ex-Anglo and IL&P execs in plea for leniency

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

John Bowe: ‘Never misleading’. Pic Collins Courts
John Bowe: ‘Never misleading’. Pic Collins Courts
Denis Casey: ‘Always decent’. Pic Collins Courts
Willie McAteer: ‘Lived modestly’. Pic Collins Courts

A judge has been told he can impose sentences of up to a decade in prison on three former banking executives convicted for taking part in a €7.2bn fraud conspiracy involving Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P).

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Prosecution counsel Paul O'Higgins SC said there was an effective maximum sentence of 10 years for the offence.

Anglo chief executive David Drumm.
Anglo chief executive David Drumm.

He was speaking after lawyers representing former Anglo executives John Bowe and Willie McAteer and former IL&P chief executive Denis Casey appealed for leniency for their clients.

Barristers for the three men said none of them had gained from the scheme and that there had been no loss to the State or the banks.

Judge Martin Nolan had been expected to impose sentences yesterday, but said he needed time to consider matters and adjourned proceedings until Friday.

Last June, a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court convicted Mr Bowe (52), Mr McAteer (66) and Mr Casey (56) of conspiring to make Anglo's books look €7.2bn healthier than they actual were.

The three men were involved in setting up a circular scheme of multi-billion euro transactions where Anglo moved money to IL&P and IL&P sent the money back, via their assurance firm Irish Life Assurance, to Anglo between September 26 and 30, 2008.

The scheme was designed so that the deposits came from the assurance company and would be treated as customer deposits, giving the impression the bank was in a healthier state than it actually was.

All three had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for Mr Bowe, told Judge Nolan his client was no longer employable in any financial business and his income had drastically fallen. The publication of the Anglo Tapes had led to vilification nationally and internationally which he would have to live with forever, said Mr McGuinness.

Read more: Sentencing in Anglo €7.2bn fraud conspiracy trial adjourned until Friday

Patrick Gageby SC, for Mr McAteer, said the prosecution had not made the case that his client was a driving force behind the illegal scheme.

Nevertheless, he had not sought to wash his hands of it or lay the blame elsewhere, Mr Gageby said. Michael O'Higgins SC, for Mr Casey, said his client had already paid a high price. After leaving IL&P he had become a barrister, only to find himself being arrested. "For seven years he has had to live and endure a very difficult life," he said.

Earlier, prosecution counsel Paul O'Higgins SC led one of the investigation team, Detective Sergeant Patrick Gillick, through a recap of evidence in the case. Mr O'Higgins said the evidence suggested Anglo chief executive David Drummwas "an active driver and probably the conceiver of the process".

But he said that while Mr Bowe, who was effectively Anglo's head of treasury, did not carry out the transactions, he had a role in supervising them and liaising between higher and lower management.

During interviews with gardaí, Mr Bowe indicated he believed the transactions were lawful ones. Mr O'Higgins said evidence was scant on Mr McAteer's actual involvement in the scheme. However, there was a phone call on September 29 where, as chief risk officer, he directed Mr Bowe to continue with the transactions.

The court was told Mr McAteer told gardaí that "to a large extent" he couldn't remember details of the transactions.

In relation to Mr Casey, Mr O'Higgins said there was evidence of regular contact between Mr Casey and Peter Fitzpatrick, IL&P's finance director, that pointed to his involvement in the transactions.

Irish Independent

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