Monday 19 March 2018

Case against the Anglo bankers was centred on two allegations

Brian Gillespie
Brian Gillespie

Conor Gallagher

The case against three former Anglo Irish Bank officials, who were yesterday convicted of conspiring to conceal or alter accounts connected to Sean FitzPatrick, centred around two separate allegations.

The trio omitted the name of the former chairman's brother-in-law, John Peter O'Toole, from a list of non-resident accounts which was to be handed over to Revenue.

Former chief Operations Officer, Tiarnan O'Mahoney, former company secretary, Bernard Daly, and former assistant manager, Aoife Maguire, also conspired to have Anglo's IT department delete six other accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick from the bank's computer system. After two months of painstaking evidence, the three were convicted on all charges.

The case dates back to the late 1990s, when Revenue were investigating bogus non-resident accounts which were liable for DIRT.

Anglo initially told Revenue it held no such accounts - however, several people later came forward under a tax amnesty to say they held non-resident accounts in the bank. As a result Revenue decided to carry out a full audit of the bank in 2003.

O'Mahoney (56), of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, ordered a task team be established to provide Revenue with lists of non-resident accounts as part of the investigation.

The team was selected by Daly (67), of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, and reported to him on a daily basis.

Maguire (62), of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, was appointed to the team and reported only to O'Mahoney. It was her job to find the files which Mr FitzPatrick did not want Revenue to see.

There were eight accounts connected to the then chairman: Lock Ltd/Suzie Ltd; Carnahalla Ltd/Suzie Ltd; Lock Ltd; Carnahalla Ltd; Triumvirate Properties Ltd and Sean FitzPatrick Trust/Crohan O'Shea Trust, as well as two accounts in the name of Mr O'Toole.

Mr FitzPatrick featured heavily throughout the trial, but was never called as a witness.

Counsel for O'Mahoney compared him to "the man on the grassy knoll" and "Macavity, the Mystery Cat - his paw marks are everywhere but he's nowhere to be seen".

The trial was told there were unusual practices going on with the O'Toole account, including that it was used to deal stock during the periods when bank directors were barred from trading. There were also large sums of money transferred in and out of the account by Mr FitzPatrick near the time of the bank's year-end returns.

'Losing sleep'

Anglo's then head of compliance, Brian Gillespie, said he was called into Mr FitzPatrick's office in 2003 and was told the O'Toole account was a real non-resident account and should not be disclosed to Revenue. Mr FitzPatrick told him he "was losing sleep" over the matter, he claimed.

Mr Gillespie said he was also approached by Daly, who asked him, in the context of the audit, if he would be prepared to delete an account if asked to do so by Mr FitzPatrick. Mr Gillespie said no and was reassigned.

O'Mahoney approached the team leader, Zita Vance (formerly Madden), and asked her to remove a name from the list to be given to Revenue. She left the project the next day.

Two Anglo IT staff claimed Maguire emailed them asking them to delete six accounts from the system and asked them to change the name and address on another account in a way that wouldn't leave a trace.

They believed the order was coming from higher up and were uncomfortable with the idea of deleting the accounts, so they archived them instead - without telling Maguire

Mr FitzPatrick's PA, Monica Kearney, said she also sent an email to O'Mahoney detailing four accounts connected to Mr O'Toole which were to be deleted.

Irish Independent

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