Lawyers for Anglo executives 'underwhelmed' by Department's pace of disclosure
Lawyers for three former Anglo Irish Bank executives due to go on trial next January have raised concerns about the slow pace of the disclosure of documents from the Department of Finance.
Former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick and two former directors, William McAteer and Pat Whelan, are facing charges of allegedly providing financial assistance to buy shares in the bank in July 2008.
Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan, who represents Mr Whelan, told a disclosure hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court he was “underwhelmed” by the amount of information coming from the Department of Finance.
“We have had relatively little documentation, we had expected much more,” said Mr Grehan.
The court heard that the Central Bank has used automated computer searches to identify over 72,000 documents to be sifted through, of which it says about 30,000 may be of relevance to the trial.
Both prosecution and defence lawyers said the Director of Public Prosecution should have a degree of oversight in the culling process to decide which documents may or may not be relevant.
Prosecuting Counsel Una Ní Raifeartaigh SC said the special liquidator dealing with the defunct Anglo bank had so far refused to release any documentation dating from after December 18, 2008, when a new board was appointed to the bank.
The court heard that the liquidator had waived legal privilege concerning documentation up until that date, but had asserted its legal privilege on material after December 2008, claiming it was not relevant to the trial.
Mr Grehan said the question of legal privilege should be addressed soon by the court, describing it as “a boil that would have to be lanced.”
Defence lawyers repeated their request made before the summer recess for a single judge to be assigned to deal with all aspects of the trial.
The court also ordered four other people linked to transactions at the centre of the case, including two former Anglo executives, to provide statements ahead of the trial.
Mr Fitzpatrick (aged 65), of Whitshed Road, Greystones; Mr McAteer (aged 62), of Auburn Villas, Rathgar; and Mr Whelan (aged 51), of Coast Road, Malahide have been charged with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to individuals to buy shares in the bank.
Judge Martin Nolan adjourned case to next Monday for mention. The trial is due to begin on January 14, 2014.
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