Court hears Revenue official had “serious concerns” about Anglo Irish Bank

Court hears Revenue official had “serious concerns” about Anglo Irish Bank

A senior Revenue official has told a trial that he had “serious concerns” in 2003 about Anglo Irish Bank's disclosure of non-resident accounts as previous disclosures had turned out not to be accurate.

The trial of three former bank officials accused of hiding accounts connected with former chairman Sean FitzPatrick in an alleged tax evasion scheme also heard that Anglo reached a Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) settlement with Revenue in 2004 after it was discovered that the bank held many non-resident accounts which were liable for DIRT.

Aoife Maguire (62) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, Former Chief Operations Officer Tiarnan O'Mahoney (56) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and former company secretary Bernard Daly (67) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, 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.

Gerard Howard, an assistant secretary with Revenue, told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that he was involved in auditing Anglo's liability for DIRT in 2003 and 2004.

The trial previously heard that in 1999 Anglo had told an earlier Revenue investigation that it held no non-resident accounts on which DIRT was due. Revenue later offered an amnesty to bogus non-resident account holders which led to several Anglo customers coming forward saying they held accounts in the bank.

Mr Howard said he was involved in a follow up audit in January 2003 which resulted in Anglo paying a settlement of €3 million. He told Sean Guerin SC, defending Bernard Daly, that this was a relatively big settlement for a small institution like Anglo.

He said “at the time” Revenue were happy that it got full cooperation and that it was satisfied that it had got “what was required.”

He said he initially had serious concerns because Anglo had said things previously that proved to be untrue referring to the claim in 1999 that it held no DIRT liable off-shore accounts..

He said the fact that Revenue got such a large settlement from the bank in 2004 showed that previous statements were not correct.

Mr Howard said that in 1999 if Anglo had disclosed computer records from 1990 and 1995 the bank would not have been able to make a zero DIRT return. He said he was told in 1999 that no computer records existed for these years.

Mr Howard agreed with Mr Guerin that he never met with Mr Daly until the 2003 audit. He said from 1998 onwards his main point of contact in the bank was Brian Gillespie except for one occasion when he met Mr O'Mahoney.

Revenue Assistant Principal Officer Anthony Rice gave evidence that a list of non-resident accounts handed over to Revenue in 2003 as part of the audit did not contain an account in the name of Mr FitzPatrick's brother-in-law, John Peter O'Toole.

Mr Rice said that Mr O'Toole's account had just under IR£140,000 in 1995 and should have been disclosed to Revenue in 2003 as part of their audit. Revenue had asked the bank for lists of all non resident accounts held in the bank at end of March in 1990, 1995 and 1999 which had a deposit of over IR£100,000.

He said the list for 1995 was 34 pages long and included 75 accounts which fit the criteria. Mr O'Toole's account was not on the list.

Mr Rice said he could not say now whether Mr O'Toole's account was a bogus non-resident account as too much time had passed.

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