Noonan warns against ‘contaminating’ Anglo evidence

Minister says source of leaked tapes to be investigated by an independent party

An independent party is to be appointed to investigate the source of the leaked Anglo Irish Bank tapes, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said.  Photograph: Frank Miller.

An independent party is to be appointed to investigate the source of the leaked Anglo Irish Bank tapes, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said. Photograph: Frank Miller.

 

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has warned against “mucking around” with recordings leaked from Anglo Irish Bank so as to ensure the evidence needed for criminal trials related to the failed lender is not contaminated.

“The guards are the people who investigate crime in this country and the guards have a statutory right to gather the evidence and other people shouldn’t be mucking around in Garda business,” Mr Noonan told reporters.

“There’s a risk of contaminating evidence and contaminated evidence is not admissible in court, so it’s very important that what happened, happened — that the guards take everything they wanted to take and they assessed it and provided the basis of files that were provided for the director of public prosecutions.”

Earlier, a response to a parliamentary question from the Minister revealed that an independent party is to be appointed to investigate the source of the leaked Anglo Irish Bank tapes.

The investigation will try to establish if the tapes, published by the Irish Independent last week, came from Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which was established to wind down Anglo’s operations, or KPMG, Anglo’s special liquidators.

The recordings have also been provided by way of discovery in certain legal proceedings involving IBRC, Mr Noonan said in a reply to Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty.

“I am advised that the special liquidators are taking the leaking of this material very seriously and have written to the Garda and the Data Protection Commissioner in that respect,” he added. “They have also written to all parties whom they know have access to this material.”

The Minister said recordings of conversations involving 18 employees from the failed bank were handed over, following a court order, to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation three years ago

Mr Noonan did not say if Finnish banking expert Peter Nyberg, who carried out an investigation into the debacle in private hearings during 2010 and 2011, had received the recordings.

Mr Doherty said he was keen to establish if all of the relevant information had been provided to Mr Nyberg to help his investigation.

Mr Noonan said he had been told that the Central Bank had not been aware of the tapes or their contents and that it was studying the transcripts emerging.

“The Central Bank will be liaising with the gardaí in this regard and is also examining whether or not any breaches of regulatory requirements may have occurred arising from the information contained in the transcripts,” he added.

Conversations on the tapes appear to suggest that Anglo mislead the Central Bank in September 2008 when it said it needed €7 billion in emergency funding, when in fact it need more. The cost of bailing out the bank eventually rose to more than four times that figure.

Additional reporting-PA