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Wednesday 22 February 2017

Top Anglo chiefs are blocking garda probe

Drumm among three senior executives not co-operating

Shane Phelan and Tim Healy

Published 05/05/2011 | 05:00

EX-CHIEF executive of Anglo Irish Bank David Drumm is among three former senior bank executives who have refused to co-operate with investigations by gardai and the corporate enforcement watchdog, the Irish Independent has learned.

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Significant delays in the Anglo investigation were revealed in the High Court yesterday. The blame for the hold-up was partly attributed to the refusal of certain key figures to be interviewed or provide witness statements.

Those not co-operating with the investigation were not named in court and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) last night declined to comment on their identities.

However, sources with knowledge of the investigation said Mr Drumm was still not making himself available, while two other prominent figures were "not fully co-operating".

Mr Drumm is now living in Massachusetts, where he has filed for bankruptcy. He has refused to return to Ireland for questioning.

Anglo's new management told a Boston court earlier this year that the bank planned to sue him over decisions he took while in charge of the bank.

It emerged in court yesterday that the investigation -- by garda fraud officers and the ODCE -- is not expected to be completed until the end of the year.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly expressed concern about the delay in completing an investigation that began more than two years ago when millions of files were seized during a raid on the bank's St Stephen's Green headquarters.

The judge was hearing an application that would allow the investigation to continue for another six months.

He is due to make a decision on the matter next Tuesday.

Lawyers for the ODCE told Mr Justice Kelly that "every effort" would be made to complete it by the end of this year.

The court heard files and reports running to 12,000 pages and related to three of the five issues being investigated were sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in December 2010 and March of this year.

However, the judge was told there was no indication yet what view the DPP had taken on the material and that it could take another two years to complete any criminal prosecution.

In response, the judge asked if the investigation was "ever going to come to an end". He noted the investigation had been adjourned and extended six times by the court and said he was not "a rubber stamp".

Paul O'Higgins, representing the ODCE, said investigators were doing all they could but it was a very complex investigation involving millions of documents and certain matters were outside his control. Some former Anglo personnel had refused to attend for interview, he said.

Statement

One person took nine months to provide a witness statement and the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, could not compel people to attend for interviews.

Four issues are being investigated to establish if they involve possible breaches of the Companies Acts and/or common law.

The first is loans made by Anglo in 2008 to a 'golden circle' of bank customers to enable them to buy its shares.

The second is Anglo's loans to its former directors and the regular "warehousing" in Irish Nationwide Building Society of some of those loans at the end of Anglo's financial year.

A third issue is the €7bn-plus 'back-to-back' deposit arrangement between Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent group for the benefit of Anglo at the end of its financial year in September 2008. The fourth line of inquiry relates to a loan to an Anglo director.

A fifth issue is whether the other four matters involve breaches of the EC Transparency Regulations and the European Communities (Admission to Listing and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2007.

Garda Superintendent Eamonn Keogh said in an affidavit that the investigation into the first of those issues was about 90pc complete. A report on the second issue was sent to the DPP last December and more documents were required.

Supt Keogh said files on the third and fourth issues were sent to the DPP in December last. The investigation into the fifth issue had to await the outcome of the investigation into the other four issues.

Irish Independent

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