News Courts

Tuesday 23 September 2014

'Intensive scrutiny' of files seized from Anglo, court hears

Sarah Stack

Published 03/04/2014 | 02:30

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Lone Star has spent around €4.2bn to buy loans and property once valued at around €7bn from the special liquidator of the former Anglo Irish Bank

SEVERAL hundred thousand documents were seized during garda searches of Anglo Irish Bank premises, a court heard.

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Superintendent Eamon Keogh told the trial of three Anglo executives that three sites were searched over 11 days from February 23, 2009.

The senior officer who led the investigation said several hundred thousand electronic documents and emails were also downloaded and thousands of papers were handed over to fraud squad officers by the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank.

Supt Keogh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, said he and several members of his team were on secondment to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

He agreed that there was "intensive scrutiny" of the paperwork and data seized from Heritage House and Stephen's House, both on St Stephen's Green, and a building on Baggot Street, with any material related to the case being made available to the three co-accused.

Anglo's former chairman Sean FitzPatrick (65), from Greystones, Co Wicklow; its former head of finance and risk William McAteer (63), of Rathgar in Dublin; and Pat Whelan (51), of Malahide, Co Dublin, deny 16 counts each of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in Anglo Irish Bank.

The loan-for-shares deal involved unwinding Sean Quinn's secret 29pc stake.

The 16 charges relate to loans to six members of the Quinn family and 10 high-net-worth Anglo clients, known as the Maple 10, who had been approached by the bank.

Mr Whelan, former head of lending (Ireland), also denies being privy to the fraudulent alteration of loan-facility letters to seven individuals.

Supt Keogh confirmed that Mr McAteer told a ratings agency at the end of July 2008 that €150m had been lent to Mr Quinn as a bridging loan to "facility him" and was not "an overhang". "That money will be repaid next week," Mr McAteer said in the conversation.

A series of emails between Mr Whelan and Anglo's former chief executive David Drumm about a letter to the Financial Regulator were also shown to the jury by prosecution counsel Una Ni Raifeartaigh.

Mr Whelan sent a draft copy of the letter to Mr Drumm, with an accompanying email that said Mr Whelan had "gone on a bit" and stated in the letter that "we are in this together" in relation to the extent of lending to the Quinn Group.

This letter was couriered to the Financial Regulator, Patrick Neary, on July 4, 2008.

Earlier, banking expert Tom Reid, who worked for Ulster Bank for 40 years, rejected claims that Anglo was any different from any other institution when it came to lending money.

The trial at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin continues tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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