Saturday 17 February 2018

Jury in trial of four former Anglo bankers sent home until later this week

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

Eimear Cotter

THE JURY in the trial of four former bankers accused of conspiring to pretend Anglo Irish Bank had €7.2bn more in non-bank deposits than it did has been sent home until later this week to allow lawyers conduct legal argument in their absence.

Former Anglo executives John Bowe (52), from Glasnevin, Dublin, and William McAteer (65), of Greenrath, Tipperary town, Co Tipperary; and former IL&P executives Denis Casey (56), of Raheny, and Peter Fitzpatrick (63), of Malahide, both Dublin, are charged with conspiring to mislead existing and potential investors, lenders and depositors by engaging in transactions between Anglo, Irish Life & Permanent and Irish Life Assurance to make Anglo appear €7.2bn better off than it was.

The men have denied the charges.

The jury has now been sent home for the day and have been told they will not be required before Thursday.

The jury is now down to 14 people, after one of the men was excused from attending.

Earlier this morning, Diarmuid McGuinness SC for Mr Bowe, began his cross examination of Anglo's former Director of Treasury, Matt Cullen.

Mr Cullen agreed with Mr McGuinness that Mr Bowe, who he did not know prior to working in Anglo, was "hard-working, dedicated and conscientious".

Earlier this morning, Mr Cullen outlined his career to the court. He said he started in the porters department of AIB, delivering the post and newspapers, before he moved into customer service and then he trained as a dealer.

He moved to Ulster Bank in 1986 and worked with them for 17 years, before he was headhunted by Anglo in 2003.

Mr Cullen said the first indication of the financial crisis, which he remembers, was when he was told on July 9, 2007 that the inter-bank market was drying up that day.

Mr Cullen said the markets improved for a short period in late 2007 into early 2008, but Anglo's shares dipped in March 2008, dropping 15 per cent in a single day.

The court heard that there was concern some dealers were short selling.

Mr Cullen also said there were lots of rumours about the state of banks, both here, in Belgium, the US and UK.

At the time in early 2008, Anglo had one of the healthiest liquidity ratios anywhere in Europe, and had up to €18bn in liquid assets, said Mr Cullen.

He spent last Friday morning going through emails and other documents relating to a task team set up to explore funding initiatives for the bank's year end in September.

Between July and September 2008, a number of initiatives were being explored and this was to show "a strong customer number" at the end of the year, said Mr Cullen.

He was dealing with transactions between Anglo and IL&P, and originally, it was hoped to do a deal worth €3bn, which would be reported in Anglo's year end figures as a corporate deposit.

However, by September 16, there were only three potential funding initiatives remaining, €500 million from Merrill, €200 from 'repo' and the figure from IL&P had increased to €6bn. This figure had increased to €7bn by September 30.

On Friday afternoon, the jury began listening to recordings of telephone conversations in Anglo's treasury department.

The trial continues. ENDS

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