Wednesday 17 January 2018

Anglo Trial: Jury sent home for the weekend after third day of deliberations

Left to right, William McAteer, Denis Casey, John Bowe, and Peter Fitzpatrick
Left to right, William McAteer, Denis Casey, John Bowe, and Peter Fitzpatrick

Declan Brennan

The jury in the trial of four former bankers accused of conspiracy to defraud the public in 2008 has been sent home for the weekend after a third day of deliberations.

Four former executives from Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life & Permanent (ILP) are alleged to have conspired to mislead investors about the true health of Anglo.

By the end of day 78 in the trial the jurors had deliberated for just over 13 hours. At 4.30pm Judge Martin Nolan told them to go home and to return to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Monday morning to resume deliberations.

Anglo's former head of capital markets John Bowe (52) and the bank's then finance director Willie McAteer (65) along with former chief executive of ILP Group Denis Casey (56) and ILP's former finance director Peter Fitzpatrick (63) have been on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court since January last. It is the longest running criminal trial in the State's history.

Bowe from Glasnevin, Dublin, McAteer of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary, Casey from Raheny, Dublin and Fitzpatrick of Convent Lane, Portmarnock, Dublin have all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to mislead investors by setting up a €7.2 billion circular transaction scheme between March 1st and September 30th, 2008 to bolster Anglo's balance sheet.

The prosecution case is that the four men were involved in a setting up a circular scheme of billion euro transactions where Anglo lent money to ILP and ILP sent the money back, via their assurance firm Irish Life Assurance, to Anglo.

The scheme was designed so that the deposits came from the assurance company and would be treated as customer deposits, which are considered a better measure of a bank's strength than inter-bank loans.

The €7.2 billion deposit was later accounted for in Anglo's preliminary results on December 3, 2008 as part of Anglo's customer deposits figure. The prosecution say that the entire objective of the scheme was to mislead anybody reading Anglo's accounts by artificially inflating the customer deposits number from €44bn to €51bn, a difference of 16%.

Lawyers for the Anglo defendants have argued that the deposits were real deposits and were accounted for correctly on Anglo's balance sheet and so no fraud was carried out. Lawyers defending the former ILP executives say their clients had no control over how Anglo would account for the deposits and that their clients had no intention to mislead the public.

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