Ex-Anglo officials refuse to reveal file codes

A NUMBER of banking officials who left Anglo Irish Bank have refused to reveal 30 encrypted passwords for documents sought by investigators into possible criminal activity at the lender.

The revelations came as the High Court extended to April next the deadline for completion of the two-year probe by the director of corporate enforcement (ODCE) and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly heard yesterday how Anglo does not have the passwords necessary to access some specific password-protected or encrypted documents and the failure of certain Anglo personnel who have left the bank to give it those passwords is one of the factors delaying the probe.

Because some “very detailed password encryption” was involved, working out the passwords was “a very time-consuming process” for the investigators, said Paul O’Higgins, counsel for the ODCE.

The director had sought passwords for 50 out of 800 password-protected documents as those 50 appeared most relevant to the probe but Anglo could only supply 20 of them.

With the investigation expected to be “substantially complete” by the end of this year, Garda Superintendent Eamonn Keogh revealed some files will be sent to the DPP within weeks while others will be forwarded in the first quarter of 2011 for the purpose of deciding on prosecutions.

The primary purpose of the processing of millions of individual electronic records is to produce an accessible and traceable record of the files held by some 20 senior persons in the bank, said Supt Keogh, who has been seconded to the ODCE.

Mr Justice Kelly said it seemed to him a decision on whether prosecutions will be brought against any Anglo officials could be taken soon after completion of the investigation as the DPP already has lawyers involved with it. He hoped the court could be informed in April about the issue of prosecutions, he added.

The judge was also told that 125 statements have been taken and this was proving very time consuming. One statement was 120 pages long while statements from an important witness took six months to compile. A huge volume of electronic and paper documents has also had to be analysed.

Of five matters being investigated, the court heard the investigations into three of those would be substantially completed by the end of the year while the others were likely to be complete by the end of March 2011.

Four primary events are being investigated for the purpose of establishing if they breached provisions of the Companies Acts and/or common law.

The first is the financial assistance by Anglo in 2008 to a number of persons to enable them buy its shares.

The second is Anglo’s loans to its former directors and the regular “warehousing” in Irish Nationwide Building Society of some of those loans at the end of Anglo’s financial year.

The third event is the ‘back-to-back’ deposit arrangement between Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent Group for the benefit of Anglo at the end of its financial year in September 2008. The investigation into all three events is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The fourth event relates to a loan to an Anglo director and that probe is expected to be complete by the end of March. The investigation into a fifth issue – if the four events involve breaches of the EC Transparency Regulations and the European Communities (admission to listing and miscellaneous provisions) Regulations 2007 – is expected to be complete soon after March.

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