Tuesday January 31, 2012

Judge Shocked Only 11 Gardai Working On Anglo Case

One of the areas of investigation concerns the EUR451 million loans to the 'Maple 10' customers to buy a 10 per cent stake in Anglo from Seán Quinn (pictured above) to prop up the share price (Photocall)

Irish High Court judge Peter Kelly, who is in charge of the commercial division, expressed his surprise last week that only 11 cops were working on the investigation into fraud at Anglo Irish Bank.

The case is the most-keenly watched to arise from Ireland's economic collapse, as most of the public blame Anglo for a large portion of the country's problems, as it was the bank responsible for the most reckless lending.

Bailing out the bank has cost taxpayers in excess of €30m.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the small number of gardaí involved in what is the most serious investigation of this type in the history of the State was extraordinary.

The 11 gardai work with eight investigators from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, and a senior counsel told the judge the Director was happy with the numbers.

Senior Counsel Paul O'Higgins said it was highly specialized work and assigning more gardaí to the investigation would not necessarily speed it up and a lack of gardai had not led to delays in completing the investigations.

Most of the delays were down to the lack of co-operation from key witnesses.

A decision on whether to bring charges against individuals is now expected within weeks.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is reviewing a previous decision not to prosecute anyone until all five strands of the investigation were complete. Some of the strands are further advanced than others.

The ODCE's investigation into Anglo is focused on five issues: the €451 million loans to the 'Maple 10' customers to buy a 10 per cent stake in Anglo from Seán Quinn to prop up the share price; transactions with directors, including Seán FitzPatrick; the bank's failure to maintain a register of directors' loans; the bank's €8 million loan to former finance director Willie McAteer in September 2008; and whether the bank published false or misleading reports.

In addition to that, The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is examining the back-to-back deposits between Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent which made Anglo look healthier than it was; and the loans to the Maple 10.

There are 15 gardai involved in the fraud office investigations.

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