Monday 18 December 2017

Garry McGann gives extensive evidence about Anglo events

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor Case

The chief executive of Smurfit Kappa Gary McGann is among a group of former Anglo directors and executives who've given extensive statements about what happened at the bank to a special investigator appointed by Ireland's chartered accountants.

The bank's former chief financial officer Matt Moran has also provided evidence running to at least 90 pages, with Anglo's then head of compliance Fiachre O'Neill also giving evidence to John Purcell, the investigator who is probing the role of Ernst & Young, Anglo's former auditors.

He is assessing whether there is prima facie evidence to move to disciplinary proceedings against Ernst & Young

It has also emerged that, between summer 2009 and now, Ernst & Young gave Purcell three large boxes of records and 23,000 documents in electronic form. Purcell has been using the forensic accountancy firm, FTI, to conduct his investigation and eight staff members from Ernst & Young were interviewed by this firm in July and August of last year, with some staff questioned for two whole days.

Ernst & Young were Anglo's auditors in the period leading up to 2009. During this period Sean FitzPatrick hid director's loans from shareholders and Irish Life & Permanent was involved in a so-called 'back-to-back'' deposit transaction with Anglo in September 2008.

Ernst & Young has claimed it is not trying to halt Purcell's entire investigation, but that the section relating to it is not based on an actual complaint. It also claims it has not seen any prima facie case against it to date.

McGann was a non-executive director at Anglo and chairman of its audit committee in the years before it was nationalised in January 2009.

Ernst & Young has been seeking to see full transcripts of McGann and Moran's evidence, but claims in an affadavit it has only been given selected extracts.

For example, following an interview with McGann, Purcell's team produced a transcript running to at least 46 pages.

In its affadavit, used to support its application to halt Purcell's probe, Ernst & Young claim they have not been given full access to transcripts filed by Moran and McGann.

"It is impossible to evaluate the weight that should be attached to certain matters or alleged facts without a comprehensive view of the testimony of certain witnesses," states Ernst & Young's managing partner Michael McKerr.

The firm, one of the so-called 'big four', also claims there is a document which is supportive of the firm but it has not seen any evidence about that document to date. "If it was not put to witnesses, this would need to be addressed by the applicant (Ernst &Young) in any submissions,'' said McKerr.

Irish Independent

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