Former banking executives to stand trial on €7.2bn fraud charges

Former Irish Life and Permanent chief executive Denis Casey pictured in 2006

Three former top bankers have been charged with conspiracy to defraud linked to €7bn of deposit transfers allegedly made to prop up Anglo Irish Bank’s books.

Denis Casey and Peter Fitzpatrick, former senior executives at Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P), and former Anglo executive John Bowe were granted bail at Dublin District Court.

The court heard the three accused all said “no” when charged at the Bridewell Garda station in the city centre this morning.

They are accused of transferring €7.2bn between Anglo, IL&P and Irish Life Assurance between March 1 and September 30, 2008, for the purpose of dishonestly creating a false impression and misleading existing and prospective depositors and investors that the bank had received larger deposits.

Mr Bowe, former director of capital markets at the former Anglo Irish Bank, faces a second charge of false accounting under the theft and fraud act.

Mr Casey is the former chief executive of the former IL&P while Mr Fitzpatrick was once finance director at the bank.

Judge Patricia McNamara remanded all three on bail to reappear in court on March 12 next year when the book of evidence will be served.

Mr Casey and Mr Fitzpatrick resigned from IL&P in February 2009 following allegations that the bank helped Anglo prop up its balance sheets with €7.2bn in short-term deposits at the end of September 2008, near the financial year end.

Each of the accused agreed to a personal bond of €1,000 and must sign on at a Garda station one day a week.

Mr Casey’s brother Alan, Mr Fitzpatrick’s wife Maria and Mr Bowe’s wife Frances Feron also offered an independent surety of €10,000, which will be frozen in their accounts instead of being lodged to the court.

Part of Irish Life & Permanent was put up for sale in the wake of the banking collapse and ensuing scandals.

The pensions and life assurance division was sold in February by the Government for €1.3bn to Canadian investment and insurance giant, Great-West Lifeco.

The deal was regarded as giving the state a full return on the bailout need to rescue Permanent TSB, the mortgage wing of the then Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P).

Anglo was nationalised in 2009 and later rebranded to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and then liquidated this year.

The three co-accused were arrested by arrangement in the capital this morning and charged by Detective Inspector Gerry Walsh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

They stood side by side behind a glass screen in the courtroom after being brought up from holding cells as he gave details of their arrest and charge.

The court heard that Bowe, 50, was a married father of three who had lived in the family home in Glasnevin, north Dublin, for 20 years.

Dressed in a brown trenchcoat and suit, he raised his right arm when his name was called by the judge.

Arguing that his client was not a flight risk, solicitor Dara Robinson said Bowe had been involved in the investigation since 2009 and had not made “a penny piece” arising from the charge.

“This is not a case of self-enrichment,” Mr Robinson said.

“This is a case of alleged misbehaviour in the context of the banking system.”

Bowe must sign in at Mountjoy Garda Station each Sunday, while Casey, 54, from Raheny, north Dublin, must sign in at Blanchardstown Garda Station every Sunday.

Fitzpatrick, 61, from Malahide, north Co Dublin, must sign in at his local Garda station every Wednesday.

All three were ordered to give 48 hours’ notice when travelling outside the jurisdiction, except when Fitzpatrick travels to Northern Ireland for family reasons.

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