New laws to speed up Anglo probe

GARDAÍ conducting the troubled Anglo Irish Bank probe will be able to use proposed laws to speed up their investigations.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said a criminal justice bill, to be published within a fortnight, will give gardaí new powers to access crucial documentation.

A High Court judge said on Wednesday he had serious concerns about delays in the Anglo investigation.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly noted the investigation, which started two-and-a-half years ago, had been adjourned and extended six times by the court already.

The court heard that some former Anglo personnel had refused to attend for interview or provide statements and that the bank was claiming legal privilege on some documentation being sought by investigators.

Mr Shatter said the bill contained procedures that would aid investigations into white collar crime, including full access to “essential” documentation. “It seeks to make provision to ensure, where that is required, there is substantial cooperation received from individuals that gardaí believe can assist them in the investigation into white collar crime.”

Under the proposals:

- Gardaí can seek court orders compelling persons to produce documents or information.

- Persons who fail to comply with such orders or who provide false or misleading information will be guilty of an offence.

- Gardaí can seek a court decision on claims that documents or information cannot be disclosed due to legal privilege.

Mr Shatter said files had been sent to the DPP in relation to two aspects of the investigation.


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