Former Irish Life chief convicted of €7.2bn conspiracy to defraud

Former Irish Life chief convicted of €7.2bn conspiracy to defraud
Denis Casey

The former Group Chief Executive of Irish Life and Permanent Group has been convicted of a €7.2bn conspiracy to defraud.

Denis Casey (aged 56) and three other former banking executives had pleaded not guilty to conspiring to mislead investors, depositors and lenders about the true health of Anglo in 2008.

On the afternoon of day 89 of the trial, the jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court returned a verdict of guilty for Casey. The verdict came following over 61 hours deliberating over the course of 14 days and brings to an end the longest running criminal trial in the State's history.

Last Wednesday the jury convicted Anglo's former head of capital markets, John Bowe (aged 52) and the bank's then finance director, Willie McAteer (aged 65) of conspiring to mislead the public about the true state of Anglo's balance sheet. They have been remanded on bail pending sentence until July 25, 2016.

On Friday, the jury returned a not guilty verdict for Peter Fitzpatrick (aged 63) following nearly 47 hours deliberating. Mr Fitzpatrick held his head in his hands and wept after the verdict was read out before hugging his barrister, Brendan Grehan SC.

Mr Casey from Raheny, Dublin, Mr Fitzpatrick of Convent Lane, Portmarnock, Dublin and Bowe from Glasnevin, Dublin and McAteer of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary had all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to defraud by setting up a €7.2 billion circular transaction scheme between March 1st and September 30th, 2008 to bolster Anglo's balance sheet with the intention of misleading investors.

The prosecution case was that the four men were involved in a setting up of a circular scheme of billion euro transactions where Anglo lent money to ILP and ILP sent the money back, via their assurance firm Irish Life Assurance, to Anglo.

The scheme was designed so that the deposits came from the assurance company and would be treated as customer deposits, which are considered a better measure of a bank's strength than inter-bank loans.

The €7.2 billion deposit was later accounted for in Anglo's preliminary results on December 3rd 2008 as part of Anglo's customer deposits figure. The prosecution alleged that the only objective of the scheme was to mislead anybody reading Anglo's accounts by artificially inflating the customer deposits number from €44bn to €51bn, a difference of 16%.

Lawyers for Bowe and McAteer had argued that their clients believed that the deposits were real deposits and were accounted for correctly on Anglo's balance sheet and so no fraud was carried out.

Lawyers defending Mr Casey and his then finance director argued that their clients had no control over how Anglo would account for the deposits and never had any intention to mislead the public.


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