December 18, 2013 5:43 pm

Three face charges over alleged €7.2bn fraud at Anglo Irish Bank

Three senior bankers have been arrested and charged with offences related to an alleged €7.2bn fraud involving Anglo Irish Bank, the defunct lender at the centre of Ireland’s banking crash.

The charges follow a four-year investigation into the collapse of Anglo Irish in 2009, which has cost Irish taxpayers €30bn and played a role in forcing Dublin to apply for an international bailout.

On Wednesday Denis Casey, former chief executive of Irish Life & Permanent, and Peter Fitzpatrick, the former finance director at the same bank, appeared at Dublin District Court together with John Bowe, the former head of treasury at Anglo Irish. All three men face a charge of conspiracy to defraud the public under common law while Mr Bowe faces an additional charge of false accounting.

The charges relate to a controversial €7.2bn transaction involving Anglo Irish and Irish Life & Permanent at the height of Ireland’s financial crisis. It is alleged the three men conspired to transfer €7.2bn between March and September 2008 to Anglo Irish to make it appear financially stronger than it was.

When charged by the police on Wednesday, all three men replied “No”. There was no objection to bail for the three men and the court heard that they are to face trial on indictment, meaning their case will go before a judge and jury.

The trial of the three men, which is not expected to begin until next year, could shine a light on key aspects of Ireland’s financial crisis, including the role played by the financial regulator and government officials in attempting to stave off a banking crash.

Five years after it suffered one of the world’s worst banking crises, Dublin has still not held a full public inquiry to discover what went wrong. The Fine Gael/Labour government, which was elected to power in February 2011, has pledged to hold an inquiry next year into the causes of a banking crash that ultimately cost €64bn.

No banker has yet faced trial in Ireland on charges related to the country’s financial crisis. But the trial of Sean FitzPatrick, the former chairman of Anglo Irish, is scheduled to begin in January. Mr FitzPatrick and two other senior Anglo Irish executives face charges related to alleged fraud at the bank during the financial crisis.

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