Thursday 18 January 2018

Prosecution finishes its evidence in the trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank officials

Former Anglo Irish Bank company secretary Bernard Daly
Former Anglo Irish Bank company secretary Bernard Daly
Former Anglo Irish Bank official Aoife Maguire at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday
Former Anglo Irish Bank official Tiarnan O'Mahoney at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday

By Conor Gallagher

The prosecution has finished its evidence in the trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank officials accused of hiding accounts from the Revenue in an alleged tax evasion scheme.

On the final day of prosecution evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court the jury heard that one of the accused, former chief operations officer Tiarnan O'Mahoney, denied ever asking a subordinate to remove a name from a list of accounts which were being provided to Revenue as part of its investigation into bogus non-resident accounts.

Mr O'Mahoney joined with his two co-accused in either denying or saying he couldn't recall his involvement in the concealment of accounts from Revenue during garda interview.

He also said he never discussed the matter with former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick. The trial has previously heard that the accounts in question were all connected to Mr FitzPatrick in some way.

Evidence in the trial has lasted 23 days so far with frequent breaks for legal argument. The jury will hear later this week if the defence intends to call any witnesses.

Mr O'Mahoney (56) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, former company secretary Bernard Daly (67) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, and former assistant manager Aoife Maguire (62) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin have pleaded not guilty to seven counts at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

It is alleged that they hid or omitted accounts, connected to Mr FitzPatrick from Anglo's Core Banking System (CBS) or from documentation provided to Revenue between 2003 and 2004.

Detective Sergeant Daniel McGinty told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that he interviewed Mr O'Mahoney by appointment in Rathmines Garda Station in October 2013.

He said Mr O'Mahoney told investigators he doesn't recall appointing an employee to put together a team to provide accounts to Revenue to assist in its investigation into bogus non-resident accounts in the bank which may have been liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).

Mr O'Mahoney said he might have set the team up before moving on to other tasks: “There was a job to be done, a review team to be set up. I don’t remember the specifics, I wasn’t involved in the specifics.”

He denied that his co-accused, Ms Maguire, was on the team, working directly for him. When gardaí showed him an email by Ms Maguire which stated this, he replied that he could only presume that she was doing some other task for him.

When asked why Ms Maguire worked in a different office to other members of the team, Mr O'Mahoney replied: “I have no idea and I wouldn’t have been involved in that at all. I can't even be certain she was on the task team if you want to call it that.”

Mr O'Mahoney denied that he asked the team leader, Zita Madden, if she would remove a name from the list to be provided to Revenue and that she was removed from the team when she said she was uncomfortable with this.

He said he didn't know why she would make that up. Asked if he ever had an issue with Ms Madden personally or professionally, Mr O'Mahoney replied that she wanted to move up the ladder faster than she had been.

He also denied telling the former head of compliance, Brian Gillespie, not to include the account of Mr FitzPatrick's brother-in-law, John Peter O'Toole, in a list being provide until he approved it.

He said he doesn't remember such a conversation and that he would remember it if it happened. He told gardaí that he wasn't close with Mr FitzPatrick at the time and that he didn't have more than a working relationship with him. “I doubt anyone had,” he added.

He said Mr FitzPatrick never asked him not to return an account to Revenue or to do anything he was uncomfortable with. Gardaí then showed the accused an email sent from Mr FitzPatrick's personal secretary to himself in November 2003.

The email said “account number as requested” and listed six accounts which were all in the name of Mr FitzPatrick's brother-in-law. Gardaí said the email was sent hours after Revenue met with Anglo officials about the investigation.

Mr O'Mahoney denied that the O'Toole accounts were sent to him so he could pass them on to someone else who would omit them from any return to Revenue. He said the accounts could have been sent to him for many reasons. He said he wasn't a great user of email and that it wouldn't be the best way to get hold of him.

Mr O'Mahoney also denied being linked to one of the accounts which were allegedly hidden on the bank's computer system. Gardaí showed him a loan facility letter from 1997 for Carnahalla Ltd made out to Mr O'Mahoney and Mr FitzPatrick for IR£1.2 million.

Mr O'Mahoney said he had never seen the letter before.

Det Sgt McGinty said Mr O'Mahoney was later charged.

The garda agreed with defence counsel for the three accused that none of them have any criminal records.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of six men and six women.

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