Anglo banker refused to sign off on €7.2bn ILP transfers, court hears

Inter-bank deal allegedly used to flatter now-defunct bank’s balance sheet

All four of the accused plead not guilty. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill /The Irish Times

All four of the accused plead not guilty. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill /The Irish Times

 

A senior banker with Anglo Irish Bank refused to sign off on inter-bank transfers of €7.2 billion which were allegedly made to manipulate the bank’s balance sheet, a trial has heard.

Four men, including Anglo’s former head of finance, Willie McAteer (65) and John Bowe (52), who had been Anglo’s head of capital markets, are accused of conspiring to mislead investors by using interbank loans to make Anglo appear €7.2 billion more valuable than it was.

The interbank loans allegedly involved money being transferred by Anglo to Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) and then being put back on deposit with Anglo via ILP’s life assurance division.

Corporate deposits

The transfer would allegedly appear as corporate deposits and not an interbank loan so the bank’s corporate funding figure would appear bigger for itss year-end figures on 30th September, 2008.

Peter Fitzpatrick (63), former director of finance at Irish Life & Permanent (ILP) of Convent Lane, Portmarnock, ILP’s former chief executive Denis Casey (56) from Raheny, Dublin, Mr McAteer of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co Tipperary and Mr Bowe, from Glasnevin in Dublin have all pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to conspiring together and with others to mislead investors through financial transactions between March 1st and September 30th, 2008.

The trial resumed in evidence before the jury briefly on Friday morning after a break of two days for legal argument.

Tony O’Hanlon, who worked in the area of credit limits for Anglo, told Úna Ní Raifeartaigh SC, prosecuting, that the bank’s transaction limits were €500 million.

He said that the transactions in September 2008 with ILP were €6.7 billion in excess of this and this meant the transactions needed to be signed off.

Limits

Mr O’Hanlon said he was asked to sign off on the transfer but he refused. He told the jury that the transaction was far in excess of the limits and totally out of proportion.

He said he couldn’t rationalise approving that excess. The jury heard that Mr McAteer and Mike Nurse, who at the time was head of treasury risk, and Mr O’Hanlon’s boss, did sign off on the excess.

Judge Martin Nolan assured the jury on Friday that the trial was on schedule to finish in May. It will continue in evidence on Monday.