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Watchdog says Anglo probe to take several more months

THE investigation into Anglo Irish Bank, which began in 2009, is going to take several more months despite recent arrests of high profile figures like ex-chairman Sean FitzPatrick, it emerged yesterday.

In his annual statement, corporate watchdog Paul Appleby said ''intensive'' work was being done on the Anglo probe, but documentation on the case would be sent to the DPP ''in the coming months''.

No charges can be brought by Mr Appleby. His office has to wait on decisions from the DPP. Two major files have been sent from Mr Appleby's office to the DPP in 2011.

Describing recent progress, he said: ''Importantly, we sent substantive investigation files on two strands of our Anglo investigations to the DPP last year.

Files for DPP

''Two weeks ago, we provided the DPP with three supplementary files which complement the material which is already in her possession.

"We are now focusing our attention on two remaining strands of the investigation, and I intend that further papers will go to the DPP in a matter of weeks.

"We will be providing the High Court with a detailed progress report on these investigations in late January,'' said Mr Appleby.

The corporate enforcer, whose office includes a number of gardai, said loans given by Anglo to its own staff in 2008 to buy the bank's shares was a key strand of the investigations. Also being looked at was the failure to maintain a register of the transactions between Anglo and its directors prior to 2009.

''Late last year, we also sent supplementary files to the DPP on the above issues and a further supplementary file on the provision by Anglo of a loan to a director of the bank in late September 2008. The DPP had received an initial investigation file on this issue in late 2010,'' said Mr Appleby.

''Intensive work on other aspects of these investigations is ongoing, and further documentation will be sent to the DPP in the coming months,'' he added.

He had received 1,960 new reports and complaints last year, which was almost as high as the record of 1,993 in 2010. ''We also determined over 1,900 cases in 2011, our highest ever total''.

In the area of enforcement work, the High Court imposed 20 disqualifications and two restrictions for misconduct or irresponsibility by directors in the management of company affairs. In addition, Mr Appleby's staff helped secure convictions on 20 charges against five defendants for criminal breaches of the Companies Acts.

"This represented a significant improvement on the result of one disqualification and eight convictions achieved in 2010,'' said Mr Appleby. A full annual report will be released in the early summer.

Irish Independent