Last June, a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court convicted former Anglo Irish Bank executives John Bowe and Willie McAteer, and the former group chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent (ILP), Denis Casey, of conspiring to make Anglo’s books look €7.2bn healthier than they actual were.
The three men were involved in setting up a circular scheme of billion euro transactions where the money moved backwards and forwards between Anglo and ILP.
The deposits from ILP were credited as coming from Irish Life Assurance so they could be treated as customer deposits.
The purpose was to mislead investors and depositors by making the bank’s corporate deposits figure, a mark of the health of a bank, look a lot better than they were.
Bowe was Anglo’s former head of capital markets and McAteer was the bank’s then finance director at the time.
During the trial, lawyers for the accused submitted that their clients had acted in line with the instructions of the financial regulator under a so-called ‘green jersey’ agenda to “circle the wagons” to steer the Irish banking system through the “catastrophic” international credit crunch.
Bowe, aged 52, from Glasnevin, Dublin, McAteer, aged 65, of Greenrath, Tipperary, and Casey, aged 56, from Raheny, Dublin, all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to defraud by setting up a €7.2bn circular transaction scheme between March 1 and September 30, 2008, to bolster Anglo’s balance sheet with the intention of misleading investors.
After a day-long hearing yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan said he would sentence them on Friday.
Paul O’Higgins, prosecuting, told the court that the effective maximum sentence was 10 years.
Mr O’Higgins said that, in early 2008, the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank had been encouraging Irish banks to support each other. However, at no stage was the regulator told about the impending transactions in September 2008, he said.
He said Anglo’s then chief executive, David Drumm, had the major part in driving the transactions.
The court heard all three convicted men co-operated fully with the garda investigation by making lengthy statements and answering questions.
All three had long careers in the financial sector and lost their positions and suffered personal loss after these events.
Lawyers for Bowe said he was not the most significant player in the scheme, while counsel for McAteer said he was not the driving force behind it. Counsel for Casey said that he believed Anglo could not have approached ILP without the knowledge and approval of the Financial Regulator.
Casey told gardaí he only agreed to short-term loans with Anglo on condition that there was no risk to his company and that he did not know or intend that Anglo would misrepresent the loans as customer deposits.
McAteer is the only one of the three to have a previous conviction.
He was convicted in 2014 of providing unlawful loans from Anglo Irish Bank to 10 property developers, dubbed the ‘Maple Ten’, in July 2008 in breach of section 60 of the Companies Act.
Lawyers for the men said none of them gained from the scheme and there was no loss to the State or the banks as the inter-bank loans cancelled each other out.