Monday 18 December 2017

FitzPatrick concerned about ‘O’Brien’ on Revenue list: witness

Sean Fitzpatrick
Sean Fitzpatrick
Denis O'Brien

Conor Gallagher

Former Anglo Irish Bank CEO Sean FitzPatrick mentioned concerns about an account belonging to a person named Denis O’Brien during a Revenue investigation into non-resident accounts in the bank, a trial has heard.

The Circuit Criminal Court was told Mr FitzPatrick questioned the name of his “mate” being on a list which was due to be submitted to the Revenue Commissioners in 2003.

However, the bank’s former head of compliance, Brian Gillespie, told the court that he reassured his then chief executive that the name on the list was not the well-known Irish businessman, but a different man with the same name.

Three former Anglo officials are on trial accused of taking part in a tax evasion scheme by hiding accounts from Revenue.

Mr Gillespie was appointed in 2003 to find and submit non-resident accounts to Revenue which may have been liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).

He said Mr FitzPatrick called him up to his office several times to discuss the inclusion of a non-resident account belonging to his brother-in-law, John Peter O’Toole, in the investigation.

Mr Gillespie said Mr FitzPatrick was trying to make it clear to him that the O’Toole account was a genuine non-resident account and told him he “was losing sleep” over the matter. “He did not at any stage give me any instruction but, intentionally or otherwise, he conveyed to me that he did not want the account reported. He didn’t instruct me, but it was clear to me what he wanted,” Mr Gillespie told the court.

In another meeting Mr FitzPatrick mentioned the name “Denis O’Brien” and referred to him as “my mate Denis”, he claimed.

He said this was mentioned in the general context of the names being reported to Revenue as part of the investigation and that perhaps Mr FitzPatrick had read the name on a list on accounts being submitted to Revenue.

Mr Gillespie agreed in court that he reassured Mr FitzPatrick it was a different Denis O’Brien.

“I didn’t believe, and I don’t believe for a second,  that it was the Denis O’Brien that most people have in their head when they think of Denis O’Brien. It was a different individual who was a genuine non-resident in the UK,” he said.

“I don’t believe it was the more well-known Denis O’Brien,” he added, agreeing with counsel that it was a “common name”.

Mr Gillespie said that Mr FitzPatrick then told him he was “being a bit naive”.

Former company secretary Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, former chief operations officer Tiarnan O’Mahoney (54) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, and Aoife Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, have pleaded not guilty to several alleged offences committed in 2003 and 2004.

The three deny trying to delete references to two accounts in the name of John Peter O’Toole from Anglo’s Core Banking System.

Mr Gillespie told counsel that Mr FitzPatrick was protective of family members “in a normal way” and was a man who was used to getting his way.

Under re-examination, Mr Gillespie denied he had breached the High Court order by not handing over files by a specific date.

“I always tried to obey the order – Revenue were very relaxed,” he stated. “They just wanted the information, they didn’t mind on what date. The date it was submitted was not very relevant.”

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