No charges over Anglo's collapse 'for some time'
NOBODY is likely to be charged over events at Anglo Irish Bank for "some time'', corporate watchdog Paul Appleby admitted yesterday.
Mr Appleby, in his review of 2010 for the Office of Corporate Enforcement, said due to the volume of documents involved, "it will likely be some time'' before the Director of Public Prosecutions is in a position to decide on what charges to bring, if any.
Files were sent to the DPP's office before Christmas.
While reporting "substantial progress'' in the investigation, Mr Appleby said his office was still sending over material to the DPP. Decisions on charges cannot happen until all material is sent over, it is understood.
The Anglo investigation is taking up "more of the office's administrative, garda, legal and accounting staff than any other matter", Mr Appleby said in the statement.
The watchdog's office is under huge pressure with other issues too, with cases before the organisation rising to 2,400 from 1,446 in 2009. The amount of company liquidations is the main cause of the pressures.
"We have managed these challenges by taking a number of proactive measures during 2010 to streamline our work. We have necessarily had to make choices and define priorities to a greater extent than ever before,'' said Mr Appleby.
"As well as dealing with the large increase in insolvent company reports due to the slowdown in the economy, we have continued to prioritise our investigations of Anglo Irish Bank.
"By the end of the year, we had sent a large amount of documentation to the DPP on four aspects of our investigations. Further material is being prepared and will be submitted to the DPP shortly.
The complex investigation involves four strands:
- The granting by Anglo in 2008 of a loan to one of its directors.
- The non-disclosure of certain directors' loans in Anglo's financial statements over a number of years.
- Loans given by Anglo to a number of people in 2008 for the purchase of its own shares.
- The communication of possible false or misleading information in certain Anglo public statements in 2008.
The vast majority of Mr Appleby's decisions in 2010 did not involve going to the courts.
"Where an issue of non-compliance was identified, we often successfully secured the correction of the defaults voluntarily or on occasion through the use of statutory powers,'' he said.
A garda file into how Anglo Irish Bank traded €7.45bn worth of "back-to-back" loans with Irish Life and Permanent was sent to the DPP before Christmas and recommended criminal charges against four suspects.
Further files are expected to be sent to the DPP in the first quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, legislation is being introduced in which key potential witnesses who refuse to make statements to gardai investigating serious suspected crimes, such as the Anglo affair, will face jail sentences as a deterrent. The move is part of a plan to strengthen the hand of the gardai to crack down on white collar crime.