Wednesday 21 March 2018

Gardai investigating dozens of suspected Anglo fraud offences

Shane Phelan, Tom Brady and Ralph Riegel

GARDAI are investigating dozens of suspected fraud offences as part of their probe into scandal-hit Anglo Irish Bank, the Irish Independent has learned.

The offences relate to the movement of €7.45bn in deposits between Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life and Permanent and the controversial loan of €450m to a "golden circle" of 10 investors to buy bank shares.

These include at least 15 case files transferred by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, to the Garda Fraud Bureau in recent weeks.

Senior garda officers have given a detailed briefing to the Director of Public Prosecutions on progress achieved so far in their inquiries.

But they accept their file to the DPP will not be completed for some time and describe the investigation as "a slow burner".

At least four more senior bankers have to be interviewed by detectives on the alleged financial wrongdoing.

The DPP will then examine the file and determine whether criminal charges should be brought.

Gardai and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) have been investigating alleged irregularities at the now nationalised bank since February last year.

The ODCE is investigating Anglo solely for breaches of company law and is passing any potential evidence of criminal offences to the gardai.

The gardai have seconded 20 officers to the ODCE and the two bodies are working closely.

The 15 case files were passed to fraud squad detectives after a number of suspected offences uncovered by the ODCE were deemed to be outside its remit.

"Any element found that isn't related to company law is referred to the gardai or a relevant regulatory body," a source told the Irish Independent.

Gardai are anxious to interview former Anglo chief executive, David Drumm, who is currently living in the United States and invited him to make himself available voluntarily.

But no agreement has been reached on where an interview might take place.

Detectives are also seeking to interview the former chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P), Denis Casey about his institution's controversial €7.45bn transaction with Anglo.


The deposits from IL&P falsely altered the bank's financial health before its collapse.

Mr Casey, who resigned last year, has handed in a sworn statement about the controversy to gardai.

But it is understood that he did not speak to investigators.

Gardai will also seek to interview IL&P's former finance director, Peter Fitzpatrick, and its former head of treasury, David Gantly. Both men also resigned from their posts.

Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe yesterday confirmed he had held a private briefing from Mr Appleby.

"During the course of that meeting it was indicated to me that there were a number of cases that he felt could not be pursued by himself but rather would be better pursued by the fraud squad," Mr O'Keeffe said.

"He has now referred at least 15 cases to the fraud squad for them to investigate."

The minister rejected suggestions the Government should intervene to speed up the investigative process.

Last May, Mr Appleby said he hoped the inquiry would be finished "in months rather than years".

Irish Independent

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