Sean Fitzpatrick trial: Auditor says he misled previous Anglo trial about statement to gardaí

An auditor for Anglo Irish Bank has told a trial that he misled a previous trial about a statement he gave to gardaí.

Sean FitzPatrick (68), the bank's former chairman, is accused of misleading auditors about multi-million euro loans from 2002 to 2007. He has denied all charges.

At the trial in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, defence counsel Bernard Condon SC put it to the bank's auditor Kieran Kelly, who is a partner with audit firm EY (previously Ernst & Young), that he gave “misleading evidence” to Judge Mary Ellen Ring during a earlier trial which later collapsed.

Mr Condon said he was “not for a moment” suggesting Mr Kelly wilfully perjured himself or intentionally misled the court. Mr Condon said he believed his earlier evidence was down to a “lack of recollection” which he later tried to correct.

Mr Kelly accepted he had inadvertently given misleading evidence in the previous trial about how his garda statement was compiled.

Mr Condon put it to the auditor that during the 2015 trial he was “rather stark” in his evidence that the statement he gave to gardaí and officers from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) was entirely his own words in response to questions put to him.

“You seemed to suggest the statement was taken in oral meetings where you were asked questions and the gardaí and the ODCE wrote down the answers,” counsel said.

Mr Kelly accepted this was his evidence. He said he also now accepts that the evidence was not entirely accurate and that he had seen portions of another EY auditor's statement prior to making his own.

“You now accept you did see Vincent Bergin's statement in advance of making your own statement when you said you didn’t before?” Mr Condon asked.

Mr Kelly said that he did. He said that when he gave the previous evidence he “didn't remember the entirety of the process of taking the statement.” He added, “to that extent…my recollection wasn’t complete.”

The witness agreed that his draft statement was prepared by the solicitors firm A&L Goodbody and then emailed to him and various other people including others within EY.

Mr Kelly said that when giving his statement he would have been happy to meet with ODCE and garda investigators without lawyers being present.

Mr Condon said that the lead investigator with the ODCE, Kevin O'Connell, didnn't believe he would have met with him without lawyers.

“Presumably you are annoyed that he is saying your not telling the truth,” Mr Condon asked.

“I’m surprised at that, yes,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr FitzPatrick of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act.

These include 22 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and five charges of furnishing false information in the years 2002 to 2007. The trial continues before Judge John Aylmer and a jury.

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