THE marathon garda investigation into the alleged financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank is almost complete and a file on the probe will shortly be handed over to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan last night said the long-running probe by the Garda Fraud Bureau and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) was finally nearing an end.
Mr Lenihan told the Dail all relevant files were now being prepared for submission to the DPP. He insisted the investigation was now "well under way and well-advanced".
Fraud bureau detectives have been focusing on the movement of €7.45bn in deposits between Anglo and IL&P and the loan of €450m to the so-called Maple 10, a "golden circle" of 10 investors, to buy bank shares.
More than 350 people have now been interviewed by gardai since February 2009.
However, gardai are facing an uphill battle to include former Anglo chief executive David Drumm in their investigations.
Under extradition legislation, Mr Drumm can only be brought back from the US by warrant if he is facing criminal charges here. Gardai have interviewed former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick and William McAteer, the bank's former finance director and chief risk officer.
Former Irish Life & Permanent chief executive Denis Casey also provided a lengthy statement to gardai.
Confirmation that the Anglo Irish Bank probe is finally coming to an end came after Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar claimed bankers had done more damage to the economy than the IRA.
He said bankers found guilty of wrongdoing should be treated like subversives and called on the Government to ensure those responsible for the banking collapse were prosecuted.
The ODCE last night said it would not be making any comment on the investigations.