Anglo trial told origin of payment to account ‘disappeared’

Former head of fraud prevention could not establish when this happened, jury heard

 The trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank officials continues   at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph:Frank Miller /The Irish Times

The trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank officials continues at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph:Frank Miller /The Irish Times

 

Monies were transferred from accounts connected to the former head of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean FitzPatrick, into a staff loan account for a few days at the end of September 1998, 1999 and 2000. It was then returned, the trial of three former bank officials has heard.

Patrick Peake, former head of fraud prevention at the bank and at its successor, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, agreed the transfers were made from accounts of Sean and Triona FitzPatrick, from Triona FitzPatrick and from Sean FitzPatrick Trust/Crohan O’Shea Trust into the bank’s staff loan account.

Continuing his evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Mr Peake said September was Anglo’s year end, when it reported what profits it had made. There was a requirement for the borrowings of executive directors to be documented in the annual returns to show what loans they had withdrawn, he said.

The effect of the temporary transfers would mean the staff loan account would be in credit for a limited period and the “customers’ accounts” would be significantly reduced for a time, he said.

Aoife Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin and Tiarnan O’Mahoney (54) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow have been charged with trying to hide accounts, connected to the former chairman of the bank, Sean FitzPatrick, from Revenue between March 2003 and December 2004.

They have pleaded not guilty.

The accounts involved include Triumvirate Properties Ltd and Sean FitzPatrick Trust/Crohan O’Shea Trust.

Mr Peake agreed a screen shot of the bank’s computer system showed the September transactions into the staff loan account included one transfer of £196,000 from a Sean FitzPatrick Trust/Crohan O’Shea Trust account into the staff loan account at the end of September 1998. The money was returned on October 5th. Other sums were transferred from an account of Sean and Triona FitzPatrick and from an account of Triona FitzPatrick ad returned on October 5th. Some 12 months later, in 1999, a similar pattern appeared, Dominic McGinn SC, for the prosecution, said. Mr Peake agreed. And on September 29th, 2000, a debit of $446,000 was made to the staff loan account from an account of Sean and Triona Fitzpatrick. The amount was returned on October 2nd in Irish pounds, the court was told.

Mr Peake also gave evidence about share trading involving the trust accounts. He explained that there were “closed periods” when staff were not allowed to trade any Anglo Irish Bank shares because half yearly accounts were due to be published and staff might know insider information about what was in them.

“Like insider trading?” Mr McGinn asked. Mr Peake agreed.

He told the court the closed period for 2000 was April 1st to May 3rd and October 1st to November 28th.

He agreed with Mr McGinn that he found a copy of a contract note in the bank’s computer system for April 11th 2000. It showed a sale of 28,418 shares in Anglo by Sean FitzPatrick Trust/Crohan O’Shea Trust valued at £2.53 a share, a total value of £71,357.

Earlier on Thursday, the court heard the origin of a payment to an account of Triumvirate Properties Ltd “disappeared” from the bank’s core banking system “sometime between February 2003 and August 2010”.

Mr Peake agreed a screen shot from the system, taken in 2003, showed €5,344 transferring from Anglo Irish Bank Isle of Man to Triumvirate. But a later screen shot, taken in April 2010, as part of an investigation into the deletion of accounts from the core banking system, did not show the origin of the money.

Mr Peake agreed he emailed a colleague in August 2010 and asked him to ascertain if the information on the transfer because it didn’t appear on the screen shot.

Mr McGinn asked if information should have appeared on that screen shot.

“Theoretically yes,” Mr Peake responded. Asked if he had ascertained when it disappeared, he said no.

“So sometime between February 2003 and August 2010?” Mr McGinn asked.

“Correct,” Mr Peake responded.

The court had heard Revenue was carrying out an audit on non-resident accounts in 2003.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan.