Former Anglo Irish Bank CEO Seán FitzPatrick mentioned concerns about an account belonging to a Denis O’Brien in the context of a Revenue investigation into bogus non-resident accounts in the bank, a trial heard.
The trial of three former Anglo officials accused of taking part in a tax evasion scheme by hiding accounts from Revenue heard that the then head of compliance, Brian Gillespie, was appointed in 2003 to find and submit non-resident accounts to Revenue which may have been liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax.
Former company secretary, Bernard Daly, aged 65, of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, former chief operations officer Tiarnan O’Mahoney, aged 54, of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, and Aoife Maguire, aged 60, of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin, have pleaded not guilty to seven alleged offences committed in 2003 and 2004.
Mr Gillespie yesterday said that Mr FitzPatrick, then CEO, called him up to his office on several occasions to discuss the inclusion of a non-resident account belonging to his brother-in-law, John Peter O’Toole, in the investigation.
Mr Gillespie said Mr FitzPatrick was trying to make it clear to him that the O’Toole account was a genuine non-resident account. The witness said he replied that he had to return it to the Revenue because it was within the scope of the investigation as laid out in a High Court order. He said Mr FitzPatrick told him he “was losing sleep” over it.
“He did not at any stage give me any instruction but intentionally or otherwise he conveyed to me that he did not want the account reported,” Mr Gillespie told Brendan Grehan, defending Mr O’Mahoney. “He didn’t instruct me but it was clear to me what he wanted.
The witness said that in another meeting Mr FitzPatrick mentioned the name “Denis O’Brien” and referred to him as “my mate Denis”. He said this was mentioned in the general context of the names being reported to Revenue as part of the investigation and that perhaps Mr FitzPatrick had read the name on a list on accounts being submitted to Revenue.
Counsel asked the witness if he was able to offer Mr FitzPatrick any reassurance on the matter. Mr Gillespie replied that he was.
He told the court: “I didn’t believe and I don’t believe for a second that it was the Denis O’Brien that most people have in their head when they think of Denis O’Brien. It was a different individual who was a genuine non-resident in the UK.” He agreed with counsel that it was a common name.
Mr Gillespie said that Mr FitzPatrick then told him he was “being a bit naive”.
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