For­mer An­glo of­fi­cial goes on trial for con­spir­ing to de­stroy records

Bank’s for­mer chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer pleads not guilty Charges re­late to bo­gus ac­counts al­legedly con­nected to Seán Fitz­Patrick

The Irish Times - - Home News -

A for­mer An­glo Ir­ish Bank of­fi­cial has gone on trial charged with con­spir­ing to de­stroy, mu­ti­late or fal­sify records of ac­counts al­legedly con­nected to the bank’s for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Seán Fitz­Patrick.

Tiar­nan O’Ma­honey (58), who held the po­si­tion of chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer at An­glo Ir­ish Bank Corp PLC, has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he con­spired to de­stroy, mu­ti­late or fal­sify books and doc­u­ments af­fect­ing or re­lat­ing to the prop­erty or af­fairs of An­glo Ir­ish Bank Corp PLC.

Mr O’Ma­honey, of Glen Pines, En­niskerry, Co Wick­low, has also pleaded not guilty at Dublin Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court to con­spir­acy to de­fraud the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers.

The of­fences are al­leged to have oc­curred be­tween March 25th, 2003 and De­cem­ber 31st, 2004 and re­fer to eight named bank ac­counts.

Open­ing the case, Do­minic McGinn SC, pros­e­cut­ing, told the jury that all eight bank ac­counts were “to a greater or lesser ex­tent” con­nected to Mr Fitz­Patrick.

Mr McGinn said the prose­cu­tion would demon­strate that Mr O’Ma­honey con­spired to delete six ac­counts from the bank’s elec­tronic record sys­tem and to dis­guise the iden­tity of two fur­ther ac­counts.

The court heard that the al­leged of­fences took place at a time when Rev­enue were in­ves­ti­gat­ing Ir­ish banks in re­la­tion to bo­gus non-res­i­dent ac­counts.

He ex­plained that these ac­counts were held by in­di­vid­u­als who falsely claimed to live out­side the State in or­der to avail of the ex­emp­tion from De­posit In­ter­est Re­ten­tion Tax (Dirt).

Non-res­i­dent ac­counts

“While Rev­enue were au­dit­ing An­glo ac­counts in 2003 they asked for a snap­shot of all non-res­i­dent ac­counts con­tain­ing a bal­ance ex­ceed­ing £100,000 at dates in 1990, 1995 and 1999,” Mr McGinn said.

The court heard that two of the ac­counts which were al­legedly al­tered were in the name of Mr Fitz­Patrick’s brother-in­law, John Peter O’Toole.

Mr McGinn said while Mr O’Toole lived out­side the ju­ris­dic­tion, an ac­count in his name was be­ing used by some­one liv­ing in Ire­land.

“There will be ev­i­dence that Mr Fitz­Patrick made it known to a mem­ber of the An­glo team that he would pre­fer if de­tails of his brother-in-law’s ac­counts were not for­warded to Rev­enue,” he said.

De­spite the ac­counts hav­ing a bal­ance of more than £100,000 in March 1995 de­tails were not for­warded to Rev­enue.

The court also heard that Aoife Maguire, a mem­ber of staff at An­glo, ap­proached mem­bers of the bank’s IT team dur­ing the Rev­enue au­dit in 2003.

Mr McGinn said she re­quested that cer­tain ac­counts be deleted from the bank’s sys­tem.

“The IT depart­ment were un­com­fort­able with this in­struc­tion and rather than delete the ac­counts in ques­tion they archived them,” he told the jury.

When the archived ac­counts were re­cov­ered it tran­spired that some de­tails per­tain­ing to the ac­counts had been al­tered.

“This was part of the process to re­move the con­nec­tion to Seán Fitz­Patrick; an at­tempt to cre­ate dis­tance be­tween these ac­counts and Seán Fitz­Patrick,” he said.

Mr McGinn said the ac­tions

‘‘ Rather than delete the ac­counts, the IT depart­ment archived them

also demon­strated a de­sire to con­ceal information from the Rev­enue.

‘Con­certed ef­fort’

“Tiar­nan O’Ma­honey was part of an agree­ment to make a de­lib­er­ate, con­certed ef­fort to al­ter records and to de­fraud Rev­enue,” he said.

The court heard from its first two wit­nesses yes­ter­day af­ter­noon: a for­mer Rev­enue prin­ci­pal of­fi­cer and a trust and pen­sions ad­viser.

The trial, in front of Judge Mar­tin Nolan and a jury of seven women and five men, is sched­uled to take be­tween four to six weeks.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: COLLINS COURTS

Tiar­nan O’Ma­honey, for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of An­glo Ir­ish Bank, ar­riv­ing at Dublin Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court yes­ter­day.

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