Thursday 22 March 2018

Former Anglo executive told gardai he had only peripheral awareness of billion euro deal in September 2008, trial hears

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

A former Anglo Irish Bank executive told gardai that he had only a peripheral awareness of a billion euro deal with Irish Life and Permanent in September 2008, a trial has heard.

Four former executives from the two banks are on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for allegedly conspiring to mislead investors by setting up a €7.2 billion circular transaction scheme to bolster Anglo's balance sheet.

The jury also heard a claim that Anglo would have collapsed in September 2008 if it had not received emergency funding from the Central Bank before it opened for business the next day.

John Bowe (52) from Glasnevin, Dublin, Willie McAteer (65) of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary, Denis Casey (56), from Raheny, Dublin, Peter Fitzpatrick (63) of Convent Lane, Portmarnock, Dublin have all pleaded not (NOT) guilty to conspiring together and with others to mislead investors through financial transactions between March 1st and September 30th, 2008.

On day 61 the 13-strong jury began hearing details of witness statements made by Mr Bowe to investigators from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

Mr Bowe, who was head of Capital Markets with Anglo in 2008, told investigators into the deals with Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) that he did not think the transactions were wrong.

“I was not particularly concerned about the transaction. I did not consider the transaction to be wrong, though it was large and unusual.

“The Financial Regulator became aware of the transaction on October 1, 2008 I think it’s a fair assumption to make that if the Regulator was aware then the Department of Finance would have been aware soon after.”

He told investigators that he only found out the final figure of the ILP deal on September 30 or October 1, 2008. He stated: “I had a peripheral awareness of the transactions with ILP as they occurred”.

Asked about emergency overnight funding of more than €1bn provided by the Central Bank Mr Bowe said: “I wish to state that Anglo was very much in the hands of the Central Bank. They were working to protect the bank and the system.

“Without assistance from the Central Bank Anglo would have collapsed on Tuesday September 30th,” he told gardai.

The jury were also shown an email from Anglo's former CEO, David Drumm, sent on September 10, 2008, as the banking crisis reached crisis point.

As banks found it increasingly difficult to secure funding, Mr Drumm urged senior executives from the bank's weekly funding meetings to do all they could to generate liquidity, saying: “massive push needed guys, look under every rock, this is crunch time for us, thanks”.

Commenting on this email Mr Bowe said it was indicative of the market conditions at the time, where there were “more bad days than good days”.

Detective Sergeant Gerard Doyle told the court that he met Mr Bowe on a number of occasions between September 2010 and February 2011, when the final draft of his witness statement was signed off.

Mr Bowe was not under arrest at the time and his solicitor was present for all meetings. The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

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