IT log-in used to change account details at Anglo, court hears

Bankers charged with trying to hide details of Sean FitzPatrick accounts from Revenue

Former Anglo Irish Bank official Aoife Maguire, who has pleaded not guilty to deceiving the Revenue between 2003 and 2004, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday. Photograph: Court Collins.

Former Anglo Irish Bank official Aoife Maguire, who has pleaded not guilty to deceiving the Revenue between 2003 and 2004, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday. Photograph: Court Collins.

 

The head of the IT department at Anglo Irish Bank has said an IT log in code should not have been used to change the address on one of the accounts at the centre of a trial of three former bank officials.

The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court also heard one of the accused, Bernard Daly, a former company secretary at the bank, had a computer in his office but didn’t turn it on.

Mr Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, Aoife Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, 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.

Mike Campbell, head of IT at Anglo between 1987 and 2004, told the court on Tuesday, an access code, MC9, used to gain access to the core banking system, was designated for use by the IT department.

Kerida Naidoo BL, for the prosecution, asked Mr Campbell about a document, displayed on screen in court, that showed an account of John Peter O’Toole, the brother-in-law of Mr FitzPatrick, had its address changed using the code MC9. Mr Campbell said the code was used “solely by IT” and should not have been used at all to change addresses.

Also giving evidence, Nicola Goddard, who was part of the secretarial team at Anglo, and worked as PA to Mr O’Mahoney and Mr Daly at some stages, said she had never heard of access code MC9 until she was asked about it by gardaí.

She accepted she got an email from Ms Maguire on June 9th, 2004, which said Ms Maguire had a folder for her regarding Peter O’Toole.

And she agreed with Mr Naidoo that she replied “I’ll collect it from you,” but, she said, she had no recollection of the issues involved.

Under cross-examination from Sean Guerin SC, for Mr Daly, Ms Goddard was asked what use Mr Daly made of his computer.

“I think he had one on his desk, but I don’t recall it was ever turned on,” she responded.

Paul Crowley, a retired assistant principal officer at Revenue, gave evidence of attending a series of meetings with Anglo in 2003 on foot of a High Court order requiring information about non-resident accounts to be supplied. Asked what Anglo’s attitude was at the meetings, Mr Crowley said “they felt like it was something that didn’t refer to themselves”.

“They felt the kind of accounts we were looking for would not have resided with them generally,” he said.

Under cross examination by Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr O’Mahoney, he agreed that revenue was “relaxed” about the dates for providing data under the High Court order. And he agreed “the curfew in October” 2003, was “the big one”.

Also giving evidence, Declan Quilligan, former chief executive of Anglo UK, said he only became aware of the current trial when he read it in the newspapers.

Asked if he recognised any of the account names involved, he said he recognised the name Peter O’Toole, Mr FitzPatrick’s brother-in law, and Crohan O’Shea, who was a client of the bank in the UK.

He also agreed that two loan facility letters both dated December 22nd 1997 had been initialled by him. The first was an offer of a loan facility of $1.2 million addressed to the directors of Carnahalla Ltd and Susie Ltd.

Its purpose was to bridge a loan from Guinness and Mahon Bank, a private bank that had agreed to loan the money to the companies to buy 75,000 shares in Spiros Ltd.

The second letter was addressed to Mr FitzPatrick and Mr O’Mahoney and also offered a loan of $1.2 million for shares, though the conditions differed from the first letter.

Asked by Mr Naidoo if it resulted in a loan for $1.2 million or two loan totalling $2.4 million, Mr Quilligan said “I can’t be sure of the intention at the time”.

The case continues before Judge Patrick McCartan on Wednesday.