Banking inquiry to report former Anglo executive to gardaí

Decision taken after Tom Browne failed to provide witness statement

A file photograph of former Anglo Irish Bank executive Tom Browne (right) with the bank’s former chief executive David Drumm. The Oireachtas banking inquiry is to report Mr  Browne to An Garda Síochána for failing to provide a witness statement.  Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

A file photograph of former Anglo Irish Bank executive Tom Browne (right) with the bank’s former chief executive David Drumm. The Oireachtas banking inquiry is to report Mr Browne to An Garda Síochána for failing to provide a witness statement. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

 

The Oireachtas banking inquiry is to report former Anglo Irish Bank executive Tom Browne to An Garda Síochána for failing to provide a witness statement as directed by the committee in advance of his appearance on July 24th.

This is the first time that a witness has been referred to the Garda by the inquiry since it began its deliberations into the banking crash last December.

Under the terms of the legislation covering the inquiry, a failure to comply with a direction can amount to a criminal offence.

The committee has written to Mr Browne to inform him that it may proceed to make an application to the High Court under section 99 of the Act for an order requiring compliance with the direction.

Mr Browne is currently a director of LeBruin Private, a corporate finance and debt advisory group with offices in Dublin and London.

The Irish Times attempted to contact Mr Browne at his office but was told he was on leave this week.

Drumm statement

Separately, former Anglo chief executive David Drumm has submitted a written statement to the committee as per its direction to him.

Mr Drumm is living in the United States and was expected to sidestep the inquiry’s work but this raises the possibility that he might appear as directed on July 29th.

“Mr Drumm has complied with the requests of the committee to date and the statement is currently being legally reviewed before it can be accepted,” the inquiry said.

In addition, three former Anglo executives - Seán FitzPatrick, John Bowe and Pat Whelan - have had their directions to appear in front of the inquiry withdrawn following the intervention of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

This followed a decision by the committee on June 30th to maintain directions in relation to the three former Anglo executives for them to appear at the inquiry.

The executives then applied to the DPP for a declaration requiring the committee to withdraw the directions because of legal proceedings pending against them.

The DPP stated it was of the opinion that the directions issued could reasonably be expected to prejudice criminal proceedings pending against the trio.

Committee chairman Ciarán Lynch said it was “with regret” that it was withdrawing the directions.

“Naturally, the committee is disappointed that we have been instructed to withdraw directions in relation to a number of witnesses who were due to come before the inquiry,” he said.

“That said, we operate within the legal framework set down by the Dáil and Seanad and we are conscious of the need to be prudent in how the committee conducts its business to ensure that the integrity of legal proceedings is protected and carried out separately from the committee’s work.

He said the inquiry would proceed with the directions issued to other Anglo witnesses.