Former Anglo executive charged over alleged €7.2bn conspiracy

Willie McAteer before court on charges relating to transfer of deposit funds in 2008

File image of William McAteer. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

File image of William McAteer. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 17:18

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Willie McAteer has been charged with taking part in an alleged conspiracy to transfer €7.2 billion in a bid to mislead the bank’s investors about the true value of deposit books.

The defunct bank’s ex-finance director is to stand trial after he became the fourth person to be accused of fraud by inflating deposits at Anglo.

Following his arrest today, he was brought before a District Court judge at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin and was remanded on bail pending trial.

His co-defendants are: John Bowe (50), from Glasnevin in Dublin, who had been head of capital markets at Anglo Irish Bank; Denis Casey (54), from Raheny, Dublin, who was chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) until 2009 and Peter Fitzpatrick (61), from Malahide, Dublin, who had been IL&P’s former director of finance.

Mr Bowe, Mr Casey and Mr Fitzpatrick had been already been charged earlier and appeared before the court again today. Judge Michael Walsh heard there were two fresh charges for a fourth defendant, Mr McAteer, who has an address at Greenrath, Tipperary town, Co. Tipperary.

Det Inspector Gerard Walsh of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation told Judge Walsh that Mr McAteer (63), was arrested at 9am this morning outside the Bridewell Garda station in Dublin city-centre.

“In reply he said ‘No’ to both charges,” Det Inspector Walsh said.

Earlier the court had heard that Mr Bowe, Mr Casey and Mr Fitzpatrick had made the same reply when they were charged.

There was no objection to bail and Mr McAteer’s wife Maria was approved to act as an independent surety in the sum of €10,000.

Together Mr McAteer and his co-defendants are accused of conspiring to mislead Anglo investors in relation to €7.2 billion transactions between Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Plc, Irish Life & Permanent Plc and Irish Life Assurance, from March to September 2008.

It is alleged that this was to give the impression that Anglo’s deposits were larger than they really were.

Mr Bowe and Mr McAteer also face one additional charge each that they allegedly falsified accounts contrary to section 10 of the Theft and Fraud Act.

The Director of Public Prosecutions consented to them being returned for trial on indictment, state solicitor Padraig Mawe told Judge Walsh.

This means means their trial will go before a judge and jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Books of evidence, each made up of two thick ringbinder folders, were served on the defendants by Det Inspector Walsh.

The two-volume books of evidence also contained CD-ROMs. Mr Mawe explained that there was an electronic format as well as hard copy.

None of the the four men have yet indicated how they will plead and Judge Walsh gave them the standard warning that if they intended to rely on alibis in their defence they must inform the prosecution within 14 days.

After some minor amendments were made to the charges, the judge then ordered that the four men were being returned for trial to the higher court.

He also agreed to make a “section 56 order” for the State to furnish copies of videotapes and memos of interviews to the defence solicitors Michael Hanahoe, Dara Robinson and Michael Hennessy.

Their clients briefly addressed the court to indicate they understood the bail terms and the alibi warning.

They then signed their bonds and took up bail pending their next hearing which will take place at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, on July 11th.

As a condition of bail they must sign on once per month at their local Garda stations, they were informed by Judge Walsh.

After the judge finalised his order he warned members of the media that nothing should be published “that might be prejudicial or adverse to the interests of the court”.