Saturday 23 September 2017

Gardai to quiz executives of global banks in Anglo probe

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

SENIOR executives at major international financial firms will be interviewed by gardai as they widen their probe into alleged wrongdoing at Anglo Irish Bank.

Officers from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) and the Garda Fraud Bureau have been anxious to secure evidence from a UK-based financial adviser who played a key role in the transactions at the centre of their inquiries.

Senior staff from firms such as investment bankers Morgan Stanley are to make affidavits through the English courts as a result of a mutual assistance request from the authorities here to the British.

Officers last night stressed those asked to provide affidavits were innocent and were not suspected of being involved in any irregularities, but said their evidence was vital to inquiries.

The evidence will be given in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, officers are trawling through an estimated 100,000 emails and transcripts of telephone calls in a bid to unravel the complex movements of cash and pinpoint the exact roles played by bank staff, financial advisers and investors.

The 40-strong investigation team, drawn jointly from the Garda Fraud Bureau and the ODCE, is also examining the thousands of documents and computer files taken from the Anglo Irish Bank headquarters at St Stephen's Green in Dublin.

Advice

The investigation has been under way since February last year and is not expected to be completed for several months.

A detailed preliminary briefing on progress achieved so far in the inquiries has been given by senior gardai to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who has made a group of senior and junior counsel available to give legal advice to the joint team.

The ODCE is investigating Anglo solely for breaches of company law and is passing any potential evidence of criminal offences to the gardai.

Fraud Bureau detectives are focusing on the movement of €7.45bn in deposits between Anglo and Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) to bolster Anglo's books and the loan of €450m to a "golden circle" of 10 investors to buy bank shares.

Gardai have already taken around 350 witness statements and these will be included in a file being prepared for the DPP, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought.

Detectives have already arrested and questioned the former chairman of Anglo, Sean FitzPatrick, and former finance director and chief risk officer, Willie McAteer, about the alleged irregularities.

Statement

They are currently carrying out interviews with the former chief executive of IL&P, Denis Casey about his institution's €7.45bn transaction with Anglo.

Mr Casey, who resigned last year from the chief executive post, had earlier this year handed in a sworn statement about the controversy at the entrance to the Garda's Dublin metropolitan headquarters at Harcourt Square.

But he did not speak to investigators at the time. In the statement, he reportedly claimed the Department of Finance, the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank were aware of the transactions with IL&P before Anglo published its financial results.

Since then, gardai have been in contact with Mr Casey's legal advisers and are now taking a statement from him.

In contrast, officers are still trying to arrange an appointment to interview former Anglo chief executive, David Drumm, who was the third member of the top management trio in Anglo during the timeframe under investigation.

Mr Drumm is currently living in the US and gardai are hoping he will voluntarily make himself available for interview here.

He is due to come back to Dublin for civil proceedings in the courts.

Irish Independent

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