Irish man faces US judge on video link

Legal history was made in an Irish court today when an Irish businessman was arraigned by a US Federal judge via international satellite video link in relation to a corporate accounting scandal which wiped more than $1bn from the share price of communications giant Enterasys.

Legal history was made in an Irish court today when an Irish businessman was arraigned by a US Federal judge via international satellite video link in relation to a corporate accounting scandal which wiped more than $1bn from the share price of communications giant Enterasys.

It was the first time an Irish citizen has been arraigned in Ireland by a judge sitting in a foreign court.

During the eight-minute link up between the US court and the Distillery Court in Dublin Jerry Shanahan was formally arraigned on a criminal complaint of wire fraud by Judge Mc Auliffe sitting at a court at Concorde , New Hampshire, USA.

Mr Shanahan was accompanied by his solicitor, Mr Greg Glynn of Arthur Cox Solicitors, for the brief hearing during which he told the judge that he understood the nature of the criminal complaint being made against him.

The judge formally entered a not guilty plea to the complaint and allowed Mr Shanahan the same bail terms as previously, a bond of $100,000 (€70,200), and also permitted Mr Shanahan to travel within the United States and the European Union for business purposes.

The next stage in the proceedings will come when a formal indictment is entered against Mr Shanahan.

Jerry Shanahan (aged 42), a former chief operations officer with Enterasys Networks, a leading American software company, has already voluntarily stood trial in New Hampshire on six charges of conspiracy, wire and mail fraud.

Last December the married father of two from Carrigaline, Cork, was acquitted on one count and a mistrial declared after a jury were hung on the five remaining counts.

It later emerged that all but one juror wanted to acquit the Irish national on all charges, but the jury later became deadlocked after finding his four co-defendants guilty of fraud.

Some 90% of corporate fraud cases are won by the American government, however most convictions are secured on plea bargains, which Mr Shanahan has rejected.

Unusually, Mr Shanahan, has waived his extradition rights in an attempt to clear his name.

He has also agreed to be re-arraigned in Dublin despite major concerns about procedural aspects of his first trial and harsh sentences -- equivalent to murder sentences served in Ireland -- that have been imposed on his former colleagues.

The Irish Embassy in Washington DC and David Barry, the Irish Consulate General in Boston, are monitoring the proceedings and have been liaising with their American counterparts about the case.

Minister for Enterprise Micheál Martin and the Department of Foreign Affairs are also providing humanitarian assistance for Mr Shanahan, whose ability to mount a strong defence has been diminished following the dilution of legal funds.

Last year Mr Shanahan was able to prove that a key prosecution witness had provided false testimony.

Mr Shanahan's case is unique as he is a non-American national, not living in the US, who has volunteered to stand trial in America.

Mr Shanahan was accused of setting up fake deals with customers to boost Enterasys’s share price after the company spun off from a parent company, Cabletron, in 2001.

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