Thursday 16 August 2018

Anglo official linked bank accounts to Sean FitzPatrick

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A fraud prevention manager at Anglo Irish Bank has told how he established connections between the bank's former chairman Sean FitzPatrick and a number of bank accounts which were allegedly archived or altered after the Revenue Commissioners began an audit.

Patrick Peake said he could not confirm who the beneficial owner of the accounts was, but found there were transfers by Mr FitzPatrick in and out of a number of the accounts.

He was giving evidence in the trial of Tiarnan O'Mahoney (58), Anglo's former chief operations officer, who is charged with conspiring to destroy, mutilate or falsify records of eight accounts.

Mr O'Mahoney, of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, denies all of the charges. The offences are alleged to have occurred between March 25, 2003, and December 31, 2004.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Revenue was investigating Irish banks at the time over bogus non-resident accounts. As part of this, it secured a court order requiring Anglo to hand over information in relation to accounts which had certain values at different points during the 1990s.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Lorcan Staines, Mr Peake agreed that Mr FitzPatrick had resigned as chairman of the bank "under a cloud" in December 2008.

This was because he had transferred loans out of the bank and then back again at the end of the financial year, a process that became known as a bed and breakfast arrangement.

The court heard that during 2009 Anglo, which was by then nationalised and under new management, began an investigation into the loans controversy.

Mr Peake agreed that one of the accounts involved in the bed and breakfast transactions could not be found on the bank's system during this investigation. It later transpired that the account and five others were "archived" during 2004.

Mr Peake said there was nothing immediately obvious to show that the accounts were linked to Mr FitzPatrick.

But through his investigations he found there had been transfers in and out of a number of them by Mr FitzPatrick or him and his wife Triona. He told the court two of the accounts were in the name of a John Peter O'Toole and that he established Mr FitzPatrick's brother-in-law had the same name.

Money came into one of those accounts on a regular basis from Sean and Triona FitzPatrick.

Mr Peake discovered someone had been withdrawing small amounts from one of those accounts from the bank's branch in St Stephen's Green.

The withdrawal dockets were signed by a Mary O'Toole. Mr Peake agreed with Mr Staines that he established Triona FitzPatrick's mother was called Mary O'Toole.

He said no one of that name had a mandate to make withdrawals from the account.

The case continues before Judge Martin Nolan.

Irish Independent

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