Anglo trial: The role of the regulators


9 June 2016


During the trial of four former executives of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life and Permanent for conspiracy to defraud, Judge Martin Nolan made a ruling about the admissibility of evidence relating to the Central Bank and the financial regulator.  The prosecution wanted matters relating to the regulator and the Central Bank excluded from the jury, saying they were irrelevant.

During the legal argument on this issue, Denis Casey, the former chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent, gave evidence.  Judge Nolan said if pushed he would believe his evidence.  Casey said he had been brought in by the authorities in early 2008 and told IL&P’s borrowings were too high.  He said the “green jersey agenda” was mentioned at around this time - this was how Irish banks could help each other in their hour of need while liquidity was drying up around the world.

During his ruling Judge Nolan said it was inconceivable the authorities did not know the banks were engaged in “balance sheet management”.  He said the regulator, Patrick Neary, and the then governor of the Central Bank, John Hurley, were “hands on”.  He said they put in Casey’s mind the issue of the green jersey agenda and Casey acted on that.

He said he thought the regulator condoned optics-based balance sheet management. He said the authorities were frightened about what they had seen in the UK and did not want Irish banks to go down. But he found, reluctantly, there was no defence of entrapment open to the accused. 

He said entrapment cases usually involved drug dealers and undercover gardaí carrying out transactions where the sole purpose or intention was to prosecute criminals.  He said that was the only form of entrapment defence recognised by Irish law. In this case there was no intention to prosecute until a look back exercise was undertaken some time later.

He found the financial regulator’s involvement would seep out during the trial and it was best to face it from the start and deal with it.  So he ruled the regulator could be mentioned in the trial.  But he said his firm conclusion was that the involvement of the regulator could amount to mitigation but not to a defence. He told the jurors that the regulator could not condone criminal behaviour and could not give a defence to any party.



Former Anglo Irish Bank executives found guilty of conspiracy to defraud; deliberations to resume on former IL&P verdicts


Wednesday 01 June 2016 22.33



Willie McAteer (L) and John Bowe were found guilty of conspiracy to defraudWillie McAteer (L) and John Bowe were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud


Two former executives in Anglo Irish Bank have been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.  Anglo's former head of Capital Markets John Bowe and the bank's former finance director, Willie McAteer, had denied conspiring with former Irish Life and Permanent executives, Denis Casey and Peter Fitzpatrick and others to mislead depositors, lenders and investors by making Anglo's corporate deposits look larger than they were.  The jury took almost 38 hours over nine days to reach its unanimous verdicts.




Two ex-Anglo executives found guilty


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McAteer and Bowe were remanded on continuing bail until Friday.  The jurors will resume deliberations in relation to Mr Casey and Mr Fitzpatrick tomorrow morning.  The court heard that in September 2008, Anglo Irish Bank was due to finalise its end of year figures.  The financial crisis had affected bank's ability to get funding.


Corporate deposits were seen as a mark of confidence in the health of an institution.  But Anglo was running out of options to boost those deposits.  Eventually a deal with Irish Life and Permanent became the only viable option.

The transactions between the institutions were described as circular or a game of ping pong by the prosecution.  Billions of euro were transferred from Anglo Irish Bank to IL&P.   They were transferred back to Anglo from Irish Life Assurance.

This meant, the court was told, they could be "dressed up" as €7.2 billion in corporate deposits, which made Anglo look healthier, and would not appear as interbank transfers.  The core issue for the jury to decide was what was the intent behind the transactions.

The prosecution case is that the intent was to deceive anyone looking at Anglo's figures.  The prosecution claimed McAteer authorised the scheme. And it claimed Bowe was involved in executing it.  The jury heard telephone recordings of conversations between Bowe and the bank's then chief executive David Drumm.

The court heard the IL&P executives, Mr Casey and Mr Fitzpatrick said they had no intention of misleading anyone and had no idea how Anglo would treat the transactions in its figures.  The prosecution case is that this was not credible and claimed the IL&P executives must have known how the transactions would be accounted for by Anglo.

Earlier this afternoon, the jurors told the court they had reached verdicts on two counts which may impinge on the other two counts.  They were called back to court on several occasions as Judge Martin Nolan clarified that they had to treat each of the accused separately.

He said that although all four defendants were named on each charge sheet, the jury could find one of them guilty of conspiring with others and acquit three.  He said to bring in guilty verdicts on conspiracy charges, the jurors must find at least two people conspired together.

At 4.30pm, the jury foreman presented the issue paper to the court registrar and told the court they had reached unanimous verdicts in relation to two of the counts.


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