Monday 11 December 2017

More top bankers face charges in Anglo probe

Tom Brady Security Editor

MORE bankers -- including one in the coming days -- are expected to face criminal charges stemming from the investigation into alleged financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank.

And further charges are under active consideration for the autumn.

One of the bankers is likely to make a court appearance shortly.

He will become the third former Anglo executive to be charged following yesterday's court appearances of Willie McAteer and Patrick Whelan.

He has been interviewed by detectives from the Garda National Fraud Bureau in the past and his court appearance will mark the end of an initial phase of prosecutions arising from the investigation.

Among those who could be included in prosecutions later on in the autumn is the Anglo former chief executive David Drumm.

The investigation into alleged financial irregularities was launched in February 2009 and involved the fraud bureau and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

The first two to be arrested were brought before the Dublin District Court yesterday, where they were both charged with 16 breaches of company law.

Former Anglo finance director Willie McAteer and the bank's ex-managing director Patrick Whelan were alleged to have provided unlawful financial help to the so-called 'Maple 10' group of Irish investors and to the wife of bankrupt business tycoon Sean Quinn and other members of his family to buy shares in Anglo as its value plummeted in 2008.

Anglo was nationalised in 2009 after a massive share price collapse and its rescue cost the Irish taxpayer about €30bn.

Included in the Quinn family members named in the charges as receiving financial aid was Sean Quinn Jnr, who was jailed last Friday for contempt of court for attempting to keep details of a €500m property empire from Anglo, which is now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Anybody found guilty of a charge brought under section 60 of the Companies Act faces a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment and a fine of €3,174.35 for each offence.

Mr Drumm, meanwhile, has ignored repeated requests by the gardai to co-operate with their inquiries.

He is currently living in the US and at the time had a house in Boston.

Numerous attempts were made by the gardai through contact with Mr Drumm's lawyers to set up a meeting, either in this country or in another location, but they were unable to arrange it.

The former Anglo banker cannot be extradited back to Ireland from the US for questioning about an alleged crime.

An extradition warrant can only be issued if a criminal charge has been brought against a suspect and the courts are satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to justify a prosecution.

If the DPP decides in favour of a charge against Mr Drumm, it is likely that his extradition would be sought from the US.

Also under investigation is:

- A "back-to-back" arrangement undertaken between Anglo and Irish Life & Permanent for the benefit of Anglo at the end of its financial year in 2008 -- this allowed money to be moved back and forth between the two institutions, boosting the appearance of Anglo's financial health.

- The provision of loans by Anglo to its former directors and the regular "warehousing" of some of the loans in the Irish Nationwide Building Society at the end of Anglo's financial year, which might also breach the Companies Act.

- The provision of a loan to an Anglo director in circumstances which might be contrary to common law and certain provisions of the Companies Act.

Among those questioned twice about some of the allegations was the former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said last night that it was important that due process should now take place and that "nothing is said which could, in any way, prejudice the outcome of the criminal prosecutions that have been initiated".

Irish Independent

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