Anglo worker asked to remove name from documents for Revenue
Senior manager gives evidence at trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank officials
Former Anglo Irish Bank official Tiarnan O’Mahoney at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Collins
A senior manager with Anglo Irish Bank has claimed she was asked by the chief operations officer to remove a name from documents requested by Revenue as part of a tax evasion investigation.
Zita Vance (formerly Madden) told the trial of three former Anglo officials that she was asked by one of the accused, Tiarnan O’Mahoney, to remove the name before giving the documents to Revenue. She said that she was no longer on the team after telling Mr O’Mahoney that she could not carry out his instructions.
Former Chief Operations Officer Mr O’Mahoney (54) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, former company secretary Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin and Aoife Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin have pleaded not guilty to seven counts .
It is alleged that they deleted or omitted accounts, connected to the former chairman, Seán FitzPatrick, from Anglo’s Core Banking System (CBS) or from documentation provided to Revenue between 2003 and 2004.
On day 16 of evidence, Ms Vance told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that in 2003 she was manager of treasury operations in the bank and was assigned to head up a team to gather documents for Revenue on potentially bogus non-resident accounts which may have had Deposit Interest Retention Tax owning on them.
She said the team worked from a converted meeting room on the ground floor of Anglo’s headquarters on St Stephen’s Green.
Ms Vance said she wasn’t on the team for all that long, maybe two weeks, when she was called up to Mr O’Mahoney’s office.
She said she couldn’t remember the conversation, but that her understanding was that she was asked to remove a name from the list that was to be given to Revenue. She said that she can’t recollect what name he said.
“My understanding on leaving that room was that I was asked would a name be removed from the list,” she said.“When I left I sat and considered the request. That evening I rang Tiarnan directly. Again, I can’t quote the conversation exactly, but the outcome was that I was no longer part of the project. I left the project the next day.”
She said that she was apologetic, but also relieved to no longer be part of the team.
Asked why she was sorry, Ms Vance replied: “I was apologetic for not, as I saw it, carrying out an instruction from the chief operations officer of the bank.”
She said that she told the team the next day that she would be leaving and went back to her day job in the bank.
Ms Vance said she was later approached by Anglo’s fraud prevention officer, Patrick Peake, who was conducting an internal investigation for the bank relating to the original team who gathered documents for Revenue. She said Mr Peake had also been a member of this team.
She said that instead of speaking to Mr Peake she first asked to speak to his manager Walter Tyrell.
“I felt more comfortable discussing the events with Walter Tyrell at the time given that Patrick Peake had been on the project team at the time,” she said.
She said Mr Tyrell agreed to meet her for a cup of coffee and told her he wouldn’t give her anything in writing, but would give her an oral background to the questions being asked of her.
Ms Vance agreed with Brendan Grehan SC, defending Mr O’Mahoney, that her recollection from the time is “fuzzy in terms of details” and that her memory has been prompted by exhibits in the case which she has been shown.
She agreed that she was put under no pressure by Mr O’Mahoney to do anything she wasn’t comfortable with.
Mr Grehan also put it to Ms Vance that his client has no recollection of the conversations she referred to and doesn’t think he would have said those things.
The trial also heard evidence from Monica Kearney who was personal assistant to the then CEO Sean FitzPatrick in 2003 before going on to be David Drumm’s assistant when he became CEO.
She said her main role as assistant to Mr FitzPatrick was taking messages, answering calls and opening his post. She said he had poor computer skills so she also sent and received his emails.
Ms Kearney identified an email she sent to Mr O’Mahoney in November 2003 detailing four account numbers. She said she sent this on behalf of Mr FitzPatrick and that he often asked her to send such messages.
The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of six men and six women.