Anglo bankers jailed for conspiring to conceal or alter bank accounts

Tiarnan O'Mahoney
Tiarnan O'Mahoney
Bernard Daly
Bernard Daly
Aoife Maguire
Aoife Maguire

Three former Anglo Irish Bank officials have been jailed for between 18 months and three years for conspiring to conceal or alter bank accounts being sought by Revenue.

Former chief Operations Officer Tiarnan O'Mahoney, former company secretary Bernard Daly and former assistant manager Aoife Maguire were found guilty by a jury on Thursday on all charges after nearly seven hours deliberations and a two month trial.

O'Mahoney, who was second in command at the bank, received a three year sentence. Daly was sentenced to two years and Maguire got 18 months. All sentences are to begin immediately.

Judge McCartan said it was clear the accused engaged in a deliberate and ongoing fraud to stop the accounts of their employer, Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick, from being disclosed to Revenue.

The judge called Anglo a “very sick bank” which “took a very, very dishonest approach to Revenue.”

He said the accused's actions were “done out of misplaced loyalty but were still dishonest and were against all good banking principle and practices.”

The court heard that there is no statutory maximum prison term for the charge of conspiracy as it is a common law offence. However Judge McCartan indicated he will treat the maximum term for all offences as five years as they all related to the same scheme.

The sentencing hearing began at noon today during which the court heard a summary of the case from an officer from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation. The judge also heard defence arguments for a non-custodial sentence, including the fact that former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick was the “prime-mover” and main beneficiary of the fraud and that none of the accused profited from it in any way.

Counsel for Daly, Sean Guerin SC, asked the judge to bear in mind that the case against Mr FitzPatrick, who has never been charged in relation to the fraud, was stronger than the one against his client. He asked Judge McCartan to consider “the impunity that Mr FitzPatrick has been fortunate enough to meet in these matters.”

Counsel also said Daly, who was previously employed in the banking supervision division of The Central Bank, is acting as a co-operating prosecution witness in a separate case against Anglo Irish Bank.

Representing O'Mahoney, Brendan Grehan SC, said that at the time of the offences his client was in line to succeed Mr FitzPatrick as CEO of the bank but lost out to David Drumm who came from the lending side of the bank.

Counsel said O'Mahoney came from the “more prudential” treasury side of Anglo and he was “deemed not to fit in with the culture of the bank.”

Shortly afterwards he left and went on to head up a company which failed “disastrously” and “publicly” during the downturn. He was forced to step down from the board of another company after he was charged with these offences.

Mr Grehan asked the court to remember that the bank itself is not on trial. He observed that “it’s a case that’s hard to divorce from the adverse publicity that attracts to anything with the toxic name Anglo or Anglo banker.”

Patrick Gageby SC, representing Maguire said that, unlike her co-accused, she was never an officer of the company and was far from it. He said she held the grade of assistant manager and that no-one answered to her.

He also presented evidence of Maguire's involvement in the Good Counsel GAA Club in Driminagh. He said she left Anglo in 2005 to care for her sick mother and has been unemployed for the last number of years.

Daly (67) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, O'Mahoney (56) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and Maguire (62) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin had pleaded not (NOT) guilty to seven charges.

The charges alleged that in 2003 and 2003 they conspired to hide or omit accounts, connected to Mr FitzPatrick from Anglo's Core Banking System (CBS) or from documentation provided to Revenue, who were conducting an investigation into bogus non-resident accounts which may have been liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).

There was a delay in taking the verdict yesterday because of an anonymous phone call to the office of the DPP saying that the jury foreman's wife was “very friendly” with Maguire. Judge McCartan decided that it was a hoax call after the jury foreman denied the claim.