THE process of taking witness statements is continuing in the joint investigation by Garda fraud officers and the Director of Corporate Enforcement into the affairs of Anglo Irish Bank, the High Court heard yesterday, when asked to extend orders relating to the retention of material seized from the bank.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who was told millions of electronic documents have been seized to date, said it was clear a huge volume of material had been seized and the investigators had “a daunting task”.
He also noted the police are “very interested” in electronic material and data related to some 20 persons, employees of the bank, over the period January 2008 to February 2009.
The judge granted the application by Paul O’Higgins SC, for the director, to extend the material retention orders for another six months. The order, granted in October, had been for three months.
Barry O’Donnell, for Anglo, said the bank was consenting to the extension of the order and was fully co-operating with the joint investigation of the director and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation into the bank’s affairs.
The court had last October made an order, on consent of Anglo, relating to how the seized documents are to be retained and how issues of legal professional privilege, which may attach to a small number of documents, may be addressed.
The court heard that the ODCE had taken measures to secure electronic data seized from various premises but a small number of documents would not be examined until issues concerning any possible claim of legal privilege are addressed.
The court applications arose as a result of amending companies legislation enacted last July to address legal issues relating to search warrants and claims of legal and professional privilege.
The general nature of the Anglo investigation is into possible offences under the Companies Acts involving the giving by a company of financial assistance for the purchase of its own shares.
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