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Monday 24 July 2017

Offshore Anglo transfers probed

Gardai to quiz Sean FitzPatrick about ownership of overseas bank accounts

Ronald Quinlan and Maeve Sheehan

SEAN FitzPatrick is among a number of former Anglo Irish Bank executives facing questions from gardai over the ownership of offshore accounts discovered by the bank's new management.

Money was transferred into the accounts at Anglo's overseas operations, and attempts were made to conceal the transactions.

After conducting an extensive trawl, officials at the now-nationalised institution passed the full details of their findings to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

Gardai have already initiated their inquiry and are planning to contact both Mr FitzPatrick and other former high-paid executives at Anglo Irish Bank in the hope of shedding some light on the money transfers, which are understood to have taken place over recent years.

While garda sources stressed that there was absolutely nothing to suggest any criminality in transferring money into offshore accounts, investigating officers will be seeking clarification from Mr FitzPatrick and his former colleagues in relation to the ownership of the offshore accounts, the source of the monies transferred and also to confirm that they had been declared to the Revenue Commissioners.

Yesterday, Mr FitzPatrick, who was recently declared bankrupt, came in for fresh attention when 40 activists from the 'Right to Work' campaign marched on his home in the fashionable Burnaby area of Greystones, Co Wicklow.

A heavy garda presence -- coupled with the fact that Mr FitzPatrick is currently overseas -- ensured that the protest passed off quickly and without any incident.

Separately, Mr FitzPatrick has already been questioned by detectives in relation to his alleged concealment of his €87m in director's loans from Anglo's books.

The former Anglo Irish Bank chairman, who was arrested earlier this year, has also been questioned about the movement of €7.5bn from Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) on to the books of Anglo Irish Bank in September 2008.

The transfer of funds from IL&P -- which was reversed within days -- was booked by Anglo as customer deposits and served to bolster the bank's balance sheet in the lead-in to the finalisation of its end-of-financial-year results on September 30, 2008.

Also under investigation is the matter of how Anglo Irish Bank lent a so-called "golden circle" of 10 clients a total of €451m in an effort to unwind the massive stake that had been built up by businessman Sean Quinn as a result of his heavy gambling with contracts for difference (CFDs) in Anglo shares.

Garda sources said the investigation was making good progress and that a file was expected to be with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) by the end of this year.

Mr Fitzpatrick is also under investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).

Last week, the High Court was told that the ODCE's investigation into Anglo had been delayed due to a difficulty in accessing the passwords to more than 100 key files.

The court heard that a number of former Anglo Irish Bank employees held passwords to 200 encrypted documents which were vital to investigators, but that only a third of the documents that the ODCE required had been produced so far by the bank.

The court allowed the ODCE to extend the investigation for a further six months.

Sunday Independent

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