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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020

Anglo officials in court accused of hiding records linked to Sean FitzPatrick

The three are charged with hiding accounted linked with Seán Fitzpatrick.

Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin.
Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THREE FORMER ANGLO Irish Bank officials have gone on trial accused of hiding accounts connected to former Chairman Sean FitzPatrick in an alleged tax evasion scheme.

Former Anglo company secretary, Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, former Chief Operations Officer Tiarnan O’Mahoney (54) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and Aoife Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin have pleaded not guilty to seven alleged offences committed in 2003 and 2004.

During the trial opening yesterday, the prosecution told the jury that the case revolves around non-resident bank accounts held by Anglo. Revenue was investigating such accounts to see if they were bogus and if Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) was owed on them as a result.

Mr O’Mahoney and Mr Daly are alleged to have supplied a list to Revenue of non-resident accounts held by Anglo which didn’t include one account held by John Peter O’Toole, who the court heard is a brother-in-law of Mr FitzPatrick.

Ms Maguire, Mr Daly and Mr O’Mahoney are also accused of asking Anglo’s IT department to delete records of two accounts in the name of Mr O’Toole from the Core Banking System (CBS).

Mr O’Mahoney and Ms Maguire are further alleged to have concealed records relating to six other accounts which were either connected to Mr FitzPatrick or to Mr O’Mahoney.

The trial of three former Anglo Irish Aoife Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham. Source: graphy: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Task group

The court heard a task group was set up within Anglo in 2003 to cooperate with Revenue’s investigation into the non-resident accounts. The prosecution alleges that Ms Maguire was assigned to the group by Mr O’Mahoney to influence the deletion of records related to the account connected to Mr FitzPatrick.

Prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC warned the jury that significant parts of the trial will be boring and that there will be “no car chases or punch ups”. He said this does not make the trial any less important and that the jury must decide it based on witnesses and documents presented to them.

Avoiding DIRT

Outlining the background to the prosecution, counsel said that in the late 1990s and early 2000s Revenue were concerned that some Irish people had set up fake non-resident accounts to avoid DIRT tax and asked Irish banks to provide a list of such accounts.

Anglo told Revenue that it held no non-resident accounts. Revenue later offered an amnesty to holders of bogus accounts which resulted in many people coming forward, including several who held such accounts with Anglo.

Large sums

As a result Revenue conducted an audit on Anglo and obtained a court order in March 2003 directing the bank to provide a list of its non-resident accounts. It was looking for accounts containing over €100,000 from March 1990, 1995 and 1999.

A team was set up in Anglo by Mr Daly, with Mr O’Mahoney in a supervisory role, to provide these lists. Ms Maguire was put on the team but she worked separately from them and reported only to Mr O’Mahoney.

Counsel said she was put on the team specifically to influence attempts to hide references to the accounts of Mr O’Toole.

The prosecution say that Mr Daly and Mr O’Mahoney also approached other members of the team asking them to omit Mr O’Toole’s account from the lists. When these team members refused they were reassigned.

Mr McGinn said that in November 2003 Anglo submitted a list to Revenue omitting the O’Toole account.

“That account should have been there but wasn’t,” Mr McGinn said. “The prosecution say the omission of that account was deliberate because that account was conceited to Sean FitzPatrick who many of you, if not all of you, will have heard of.”

Deleting records

Counsel continued that at some stage in 2004 attempts were made to delete references to eight accounts from Anglo’s Core Banking System (CBS), which is supposed to be a perfect record of the bank’s transactions.

Mr McGinn said a common theme of these accounts were that they were connected in some way to Mr FitzPatrick, although some were connected to Mr O’Mahoney. IT staff in the bank were uncomfortable completely deleting the records from the CBS but they did “archive” them, meaning they were harder to get to.

Mr McGinn said these accounts were used for share trading and property management and were held either in the Isle of Man or Jersey “where the tax regime is lighter than here”.

Counsel concluded that there was a deliberate attempt to hide or move these accounts directly as a result of the Revenue audit.

The prosecution allege that at the time there was a concerted effort by people in Anglo Irish Bank to conceal accounts to avoid paying tax owing on these accounts.

The trial will hear its first witness tomorrow before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of six men and six women.

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About the author:

Denis Tobin

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