Court hears that loans to Sean FitzPatrick were temporarily paid back

Sean Fitzpatrick
Sean Fitzpatrick

Loans to former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick from the bank were temporarily paid back so the accounts would look healthier during the company's year end returns, a trial has heard.

The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court  of three former Anglo officials accused of hiding off-shore accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick in an alleged tax evasion scheme spent the day hearing evidence of an account titled Sean FitzPatrick/Crohan O'Shea Trust which was set up sometime in 1998.

Former fraud officer with Anglo, Patrick Peake, gave evidence of bank records showing that in September 1998 IR£196,000 was transferred from this account into an internal Anglo account called “SRLADV.”

Mr Peake explained that this was an account run by the bank's human resources department. Its purpose was to provide loans to Anglo staff members.

Documents showed that another IR£215,000 was paid into the SRLADV account from an account belonging to Sean and Triona FitzPatrick and another IR£49,000 from an account in the name of Triona FitzPatrick.

The following month on October 6th the money was transferred back into the originating accounts.

Mr Peake explained that September was the financial year end for Anglo when it had to report its profits to shareholders as part of its annual return. The court heard part of the annual return involves detailing all loans given to executive directors of the bank.

Referring to September 1998 when the money was temporarily paid back from accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick, Mr Peake said: “The customer's staff loan account was significantly reduced over the year end/financial results period.”

Mr Peake told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that the same pattern was repeated in September 1999 and 2000.

It is alleged that staff at Anglo tried to hide the Sean FitzPatrick/Crohan O'Shea Trust accounts, along with five accounts, from the Revenue in order to evade Deposit Interest Retention Tax.

Former company secretary, Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, former Chief Operations Officer Tiarnan O'Mahoney (54) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and Aoife 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.

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