Sunday 18 February 2018

Mitchell O'Connor demands full report on botched Anglo case within a month

Mary Mitchell O'Connor Picture: Tom Burke
Mary Mitchell O'Connor Picture: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor has set June 23 as the deadline for a report into the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement's (ODCE) botched investigation into former Anglo Irish Bank boss Seán FitzPatrick.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor told the Dáil that the shortcomings in the case identified by the judge were "very serious" and "unacceptable".

"It is infuriating for the public and we need to get to the bottom of it," Ms Mitchell O'Connor said.

She said she had ordered a report into what went wrong to be delivered to her by the current ODCE director Ian Drennan next month.

Mr FitzPatrick was cleared of all charges of misleading Anglo Irish Bank's auditors about loans, as the judge in the case criticised the investigation by the ODCE.

Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins said the collapse of the trial was "shocking" and said people were "disgusted" at the State's lack of ability to bring a successful prosecution.

Mr Collins said the case was approached in a "botched manner" and the State's approach to prosecuting white-collar crime needed to be considered.

Read More: Ministers cited the 'crucial' Anglo probe as they struck pension deal for watchdog

Ms Mitchell O'Connor said that, as the minister "inheriting this long, drawn-out and difficult case", she intended to "complete a full review and examine all possible options".

"Nothing is off the table," she added.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor noted that the judge's criticisms of the ODCE's investigation pre-date Mr Drennan's appointment as director.

She said that when he took office, the file relating to Mr FitzPatrick's case had already been sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) who took the decision to prosecute.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor noted that the ODCE had accepted criticisms made by the judge and had already made improvements to how it operates.

Labour TD Joan Burton said the establishment of "a Criminal Assets Bureau for white-collar crime" that was "seriously resourced" should be considered. She said: "Nothing less will address the situation."

Irish Independent

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