Anglo bankers accused of hiding bogus off-shore accounts helped Revenue investigate tax compliance
Three former Anglo Irish Bank officials accused of hiding bogus off-shore accounts in an alleged tax evasion scheme were involved in helping Revenue investigate tax compliance in the bank in 2003.
Day 13 of the official's trial heard that one of them, former Chief Operations Officer Tiarnan O'Mahoney requested that the team be set up to help Revenue in its audit of the bank. The audit was examining the presence of bogus non-resident accounts held by Anglo on were liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).
The court heard the team was to report to another of the accused, Bernard Daly, who was then the bank's chief of compliance. One of the members of the team was a third accused, Aoife Maguire. The court heard Ms Maguire had a separate office to the other team members.
The prosecution allege that the three accused helped hide off-shore accounts connected to former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick from the Revenue
Mr Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, Mr O'Mahoney (54) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and Ms Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin have pleaded not guilty to seven alleged offences committed in 2003 and 2004.
The three are accused of trying to delete references to two accounts in the name of John Peter O'Toole, Mr FitzPatrick's brother-in-law, from Anglo's Core Banking System (CBS).
Mr Daly and Mr O'Mahoney also deny omitting the name of Mr O'Toole from a list provided to the Revenue Commissioners of people who held non-resident accounts worth more than €100,000 in 1995.
Mr O'Mahoney and Ms Maguire further deny attempting to delete six other accounts, connected to Mr FitzPatrick, from the CBS.
Continuing his evidence today/yesterday (FRI) former Anglo fraud prevention officer, Patrick Peake, told prosecuting counsel that Anglo had previously told Revenue that it had no off-shore accounts on which DIRT might be due.
Revenue later offered an amnesty for those liable for DIRT. Several holders of bogus off-shore accounts came forward and said their accounts were with Anglo.
As a result Revenue launched an investigation into off-shore accounts in the bank and Mr O'Mahoney appointed a team to gather relevant documents for Revenue.
Mr Peake said that he was on this team along with several others, including Ms Maguire. He said most of the team members shared one office while Ms Maguire worked in a separate office nearby. He said that he was not aware why Ms Maguire was in a separate office or of what work she was doing in there.
The witness said the team's duty was to gather bank documents and declarations and to print off bank accounts. He said this information was to be given to Mr Daly who was company secretary and head of compliance.
Mr Peake said that part of his duties on the team was to search for relevant emails from the bank's archive. He had the IT department perform an “e-discovery” which involved searching staff email accounts for certain key words.
He said these words included the names of Aoife Maguire, Tiarnan O'Mahoney, Sean FitzPatrick and Bernard Daly. Mr Peake said he searched for these names as “these were key staff members who I believed would be able to assist me in my investigation as to why there were six accounts deleted from core banking system.”
Other key words used were: John Peter O'Toole (Mr FitzPatrick's brother-in-law), Financial Regulator, Bogus, Delete, Archive, rid, lose, hide, brother, brother-in-law, off-shore, non-resident and bogus.
In a separete section of evidence Mr Peake told the court that several changes were made to the name and address details on the account of Mr FitzPatrick on the bank's internal record system. The trial heard that some of the changes were made in the days following the closure of the account.
Mr Peake told the court that he examined records relating to an account set up in March 1998 called “The Sean FitzPatrick Trust and the Crohan O'Shea Trust” with an address “care of Anglo Irish Bank.”
A year later someone with the username AM1 made further changes to the account. Mr Peake said this was the login of Ms Maguire. This user changed the name of the account to “Sean FitzPatrick/Crohan O'Shea Trust”.
A further change was made in 2003 when the address was changed to “care of Monica Kearney”. The witness said Ms Kearney was Mr FitzPatrick's personal assistant at the time.
In May 2004 someone accessed the bank's computer system using the login MC9. Mr Peake confirmed this was the same login used to make changes to other accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick. He said it was a general login which could have been used by many people in the IT department.
On this occasion the name of Sean FitzPatrick was removed entirely from the account records and the name was changed to “Crohan O'Shea Trust” with an address in Killiney. Mr Peake confirmed this is Mr O'Shea's home address.
The next month the account was closed down. However a few days later on May 28, 2004 another change was made and Mr FitzPatrick's name was put back in. Three days later it was again taken off.
Mr Peake, who has been in the witness box for over a week, is nearing the end of his evidence in the trial before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of six men and six women.