Claim auditor said Anglo-ILP transactions ‘technically sound’

Trial of David Drumm hears evidence from bank’s former head of group finance

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A former senior accounting executive at Anglo Irish Bank said he did not understand the significance of “who placed the money first” regarding the bank’s transactions with Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) until months after they took place.

Colin Golden, former head of group finance at the bank, told Dublin Circuit Criminal court that even during his time working at Anglo he did not understand why people were discussing that point.

“I’m going to be completely straight up here – who placed first – I didn’t understand why it was a big deal,” he said.

Mr Golden was giving evidence on Tuesday which was day 37 of David Drumm’s conspiracy to defraud trial.

He told Paul O’Higgins SC, prosecuting, that the group finance department produced a report for the bank’s audit committee meeting on November 18th, 2008.

He said senior executives at the bank reviewed the wording of the reference to the ILP transactions, which was labelled ‘Item 12 – Customer Accounts’, on the document he presented to the meeting.

“I would be guessing if I said who wrote it. But I reviewed it,” he told the jury.

When asked about inaccuracies in the document regarding the description of the transactions, he said it was a surprise when he found out in early 2009 that the deal had “settled net”.

“I was told they were settled gross,” he said.

He said he was not sure who had told him this, and added it could have been a misunderstanding “on our side or on someone else’s side”.

Shrugged

During cross examination Mr Golden said the head of Ernst and Young audit team, Vincent Bergin, shrugged his shoulders and described the transactions with ILP as “technically sound”.

Mr Golden said that he phoned the financial regulator on October 24 2008 to talk him through the ILP transactions after being asked to do so by Willie McAteer.

A note made by him at the time recorded that he told Mary Burke that he had been lead to believe the transactions had been approved by the regulator.

His note read: “She sniggered, and said she didn’t know but led me to believe that someone more senior was knowledgeable about them.”

Mr Drumm, with an address in Skerries, Co Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with former bank officials Denis Casey, William McAteer, John Bowe and others to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo by “dishonestly” creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

He has also pleaded not guilty to false accounting on December 3, 2008, by furnishing information to the market that Anglo’s 2008 deposits were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

The trial continues before Judge Karen O’Connor and a jury.

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