THE DIRECTOR of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, who is heading up the investigation into white collar crime at the former Anglo Irish Bank, has announced he will retire at the end of February.
He has held the role for the last ten years and the move comes just days after High Court judge Peter Kelly said he was shocked that only 11 Gardai are working on the investigation into the collapse of Anglo Irish Bank, now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he was “taken aback” to hear the number of Gardai seconded to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
The body is still investigating five issues and has sent 150 files to the DPP to date.
Last week it secured a court order allowing another six months to finish the investigation.
Mr Kelly noted the investigation is taking a very, very long time.”
The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is conducting a parallel investigation into Anglo and last year sent a file to the DPP on back-to-back bank deposits which the bank undertook with Irish Life & Permanent at the end of September 2008.
Mr Appleby said his decision to retire would not impede the office's work in the Anglo Irish Bank investigation and said if his assistance was required, he would make himself available.
He said in a statement the decision ''followed a period of reflection and discussion of my position with my wife and family in recent weeks.''
Mr Appleby said he has formally notified Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton of his decision.
''I advised him that there were a number of staff in my Office who were well capable of assuming my position in an acting capacity pending the making of a permanent appointment as Director in a few months' time,'' he said.
''I understand that the Minister will shortly seek the approval of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to the appointment of an Acting Director.
''With regard to the Anglo Irish Bank investigation, I assured the Minister that my resignation would not impede its successful conclusion.
''I referred in particular to: the report of significant progress made to the High Court last Thursday which included the completion of two ODCE investigative strands and only minor work being outstanding in a third area and the public statement by Counsel for the DPP to the Court that day to the effect that the DPP may soon decide to bring charges in the case.
''I also advised the Minister that if my assistance was required after retirement, I would make myself available.
''While there can be no perfect time to retire from a demanding role like that of Director of Corporate Enforcement, I am satisfied that my leaving the post at this time need have no adverse consequences for the valuable work of the Office.''
Last Thursday, Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told by lawyers for the Director that 19 people in total were involved in the investigation into Anglo - 11 gardaí and eight members of the director's staff.