Sunday 25 February 2018

Investigation into Sean FitzPatrick marked by 'coaching' of key witnesses - court hears

Sean Fitzpatrick. Photo: Collins Courts
Sean Fitzpatrick. Photo: Collins Courts
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

An investigation into former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick was marked by the “coaching” of key witnesses, a court hard heard.

The bombshell claim was made by a lawyer representing Mr FitzPatrick, who denies charges of misleading auditors about the size of multi-million euro loans he had from the bank.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has been hearing evidence from Kevin O’Connell, a legal advisor in the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, who led the investigation into Mr FitzPatrick.

Beginning his cross examination of Mr O’Connell, Mr FitzPatrick’s barrister Bernard Condon SC said he was going to assert that the investigation was “unfair” due to the manner in which statements had been taken from two Ernst & Young auditors, Kieran Kelly and Vincent Bergin.

“I say this investigation was one that was marked by coaching of the witnesses and that you permitted the witnesses to contaminate each other,” said Mr Condon.

He said Mr Bergin and Mr Kelly got to read each others statements before they were submitted to the ODCE.

Mr Kelly was Anglo’s auditor between 2002 and 2004, while Mr Bergin audited the bank between 2006 and 2007.

The barrister said he would be putting it to Mr O’Connell that he failed to conduct a fair investigation.

Mr O’Connell did not make any comment on the accuracy of Mr Condon’s claims, but said he had anticipated the defence would make such arguments.

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