Trial continues of Anglo Irish Bank officials

Trial continues of Anglo Irish Bank officials

There were “potential conflicts of interest” in the fraud officer of Anglo Irish Bank investigating the concealment of certain accounts relating to an alleged tax evasion scheme, the trial of three former bank officials has heard.

Day two of the trial heard from Anglo's former Head of Group Internal Audit, Walter Tyrell, who told the jury that he was asked to look into the issue of loans taken out by the bank's directors, including former chairman Sean FitzPatrick, after the resignation of Mr FitzPatrick in 2008.

Mr Tyrell said he was also asked to look into the archiving of certain accounts in Anglo's IT system but that the director's loans review took precedence. The prosecution allege that the archiving was an attempt to hide the accounts.

Three former officials are accused of being involved in archiving and hiding off-shore accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick which may have had Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) owed on them.

Former Anglo 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.

Mr Tyrell today told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that he was reviewing the issue of director's loans at the behest of the Anglo board and a number of external agencies.

He said that around this time he became aware of the issue of the “archiving” of certain accounts within the CBS. He mentioned the issue to the new chairman, Donal O'Connor, in early 2010 but said that other issues took priority at the time. Mr Tyrell said the bank was “lurching” between issues during the period.

He said that in March 2010, when things had settled down, he began to examine the archiving issue and raised it again with the new chairman. The witness said the bank's fraud officer, Patrick Peak then investigated the issue.

Mr Tyrell said he had very little to do with the investigation after this but that one of his functions was to keep the Audit Committee informed about it and about any correspondence with external agencies.

Sean Guerin SC, defending Mr Daly, put it to Mr Tyrell that Mr Peak had previously been involved in making representations to the Revenue about the bank's involvement in off-shore accounts and DIRT in 2003 and 2004.

“Were you comfortable that Mr Peak was investigating this given that he was involved in the DIRT audit,” Mr Guerin asked.

Mr Tyrell replied that it “could be seen as a conflict of interests” but that Mr Peak was the fraud officer at the time.

Mr Guerin detailed a meeting he had in 2010 with three others including Mr Peak. Mr Tyrell agreed that he attended the meeting and that he told the group that accounts had been removed from the CBS and that the Gardaí Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Financial Regulator and the Revenue should be informed.

Counsel put it to the witness that two of those present at the meeting, including Mr Peak, had been involved in the DIRT audit in 2003 and that those people never had their emails examined during the new investigation.

Mr Tyrell said he was “90 percent sure” he never read the report of the investigation despite appointing Mr Peak to lead it.

The trial is in legal argument until tomorrow afternoon.

Judge Patrick McCartan told the jury of six men and six women that the argument concerns the facts of the case and that it was being excused to avoid “infecting” it with material and information that does not constitute evidence.