Horan faces questions on record keeping over Anglo meetings

Former prudential director at Financial Regulator’s office asked why there were no notes of ‘key conversations’

Witness Con Horan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: Collins Courts.

Witness Con Horan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: Collins Courts.

Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 06:44

Michael O’Higgins SC for former Anglo Irish Bank non-executive chairman Seán FitzPatrick rose to his feet with just 16 minutes to go before yesterday’s proceedings finished.

Prior to beginning his questioning of Con Horan, the former prudential director of the Financial Regulator, Mr O’Higgins said he did not intend to take long as “the prosecution aren’t alleging Mr FitzPatrick was involved in the mechanics of the transaction so it does restrict the number of my questions”.

Mr O’Higgins said he proposed to look at events in chronological order. He said the first “significant” sign that there was “very large storm clouds gathering,” was on February 15th, 2008.


Auditors
Mr O’Higgins said this was the day that PWC, the auditors of the Quinn Group, as well as Seán Quinn rang Mr Horan to tell him of various serious issues.

The jury saw a copy of a typed “memorandum” made by Mr Horan of these phone calls setting out clearly what had occurred. Mr O’Higgins asked what was the “drill” when it came to taking memos of phone calls or meetings.

“In general there would be a memo of important calls or after meetings,” Mr Horan said. Mr O’Higgins asked was this always the “default” position.

Mr Horan admitted that during the “events of 2008”, this didn’t “always occur”.

“It certainly didn’t,” Mr O’Higgins replied.

“Why are there no notes of all the key conversations in this case?” Mr O’Higgins asked. He asked Mr Horan had he “consciously said at that time, ‘No, I’m not going to take notes.’ ”

Mr O’Higgins said Mr Horan had no notes of important interactions with Anglo Irish Bank on July 8th, July 9th and July 12th. These were the days just prior to the unwinding of Seean Quinn’s position in the bank when Anglo financed the purchase of its own shares on the behalf of Quinn’s family and 10 individuals.

Mr Horan agreed he did not have any notes of the three July meetings. Instead, he said he had on July 22nd “accumulated” everything into one note ahead of an important meeting of his board the following day.

“In pulling that note together, I can’t recall how those three elements [the three July interactions] were pulled together,” Mr Horan said. “I tried to report what I thought were the key points in those discussions.”


‘Highly skilled’
Mr O’Higgins said Mr Horan was both “highly skilled” and “trained” as a regulator and asked him again how he did not take contemporaneous notes of the three meetings. He suggested this was why his evidence might differ from others. Mr Horan replied he believed his note was a “relatively contemporaneous note that I would have constructed at that time”.

Mr O’Higgins accused Mr Horan of going “all around the houses” with his evidence. “I am trying to give the evidence as accurately as I can,” Mr Horan said. Questioning by Mr O’Higgins of Mr Horan will continue today.