independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Three former bankers charged in €7.2bn fraud case

John Bowe leaving the Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice this afternoon. Pic: Mark Condren

THE former chief executive of Irish Life & Permanent has been charged in relation to an alleged €7.2bn fraud.

Denis Casey is the second most senior bank executive after former Anglo CEO Sean FitzPatrick, to face criminal charges in the wake of the financial crisis.

These charges are not in any way related to the charges Mr FitzPatrick and two former Anglo executives face at a separate trial to be held next year.

Mr Casey, who has just qualified as a junior barrister, was charged yesterday (WED) along with two former bankers - IL&P’s former finance director Peter Fitzpatrick and the former head of treasury at Anglo Irish Bank John Bowe - with conspiracy to defraud investors and depositors under common law.

The men are to stand trial accused conspiring to mislead Anglo Irish Bank investors in relation to €7.2 billion transactions.

The case relates to financial transfers involving Irish Life Assurance, Irish Life and Permanent and Anglo Irish Bank, between March and September 2008.

It is alleged the three men conspired, contrary to common law, to falsely give investors the impression Anglo had deposits which were €7.2bn larger than they really were.

Mr Bowe, aged 50, from Glasnevin, in Dublin, faces an additional charge that on December 3, 2008 he made use of an account - which was to his knowledge misleading, false or deceptive - contrary to Section 10 of the Theft and Fraud Act.

John Bowe was head of capital markets at Anglo Irish Bank which has been nationalised costing taxpayers about €30 billion.

It was later re-branded the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) which is now in special liquidation.

He had stayed on working at the bank until last year.

Mr Casey, 54, from Raheny, Dublin was chief executive Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) until 2009.

Prior to that had a senior role at Permanent TSB.

The third defendant is 61-year-old Peter Fitzpatrick, from Malahide, Dublin, who had been IL&P's former director of finance.

They trio were arrested in Dublin by appointment yesterday (WED) morning by detectives from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

They were taken to the Bridewell Garda station where charges were put to them before they were brought to appear before Judge Patricia McNamara at Dublin District Court.

The three men were brought into the courtroom from the holding cells and listened silently as the court heard the details of the arrests. Detective Inspector Gerry Walsh told the court that the three men replied “No” when they were charged with the offences.

Solicitor Dara Robinson, for John Bowe, said it was not a case of self enrichment and the prosecution was in the context of the banking system.

He said his client, a married father-of-three had co-operated with the garda investigation since 2009 and was not a flight risk.

There was no objection to bail and state solicitor Padraig Mawe told the judge that the DPP has directed they are to face trial on indictment, meaning their case will go before a judge and jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The three men, who have not yet indicated how they will plead, were remanded on bail in their own bonds of €1,000 along with €10,000 independent sureties which were sought due to the seriousness of the charges.

They were ordered to appear again at the district court on March 12 next when they are to be served with books of evidence and returned for trial.

Mr Bowe's wife Frances acted as his independent surety, Mr Fitzpatrick's wife Maria was approved as his bail-person and Mr Casey's brother, Alan, acted as his independent surety.

As a condition of bail the judge ordered them to sign on once a week at their local garda stations; she also said they have to give the the fraud bureau detectives at least 48 hours advance notice if they intend to leave the country and they must provide details of their travel destinations and return dates.

Mr Mawe, for the State, also asked the news media to note that this case had no factual connection with the trial of former Anglo executives which is set to begin in January 2014.

The judge agreed to his request to remind the media that nothing should be published or broadcast that would prejudice either trial.

Dearbhail McDonald, Legal Editor

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