Anglo trial hears of plan to disguise transactionFriday 29 January 2016 17.09
A banker at Irish Life and Permanent suggested that a transaction in which money would be transferred to IL&P by Anglo Irish Bank and then deposited back with Anglo should be disguised, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.
The jury in the trial of four former bankers from Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life and Permanent, accused of conspiracy to defraud, has been listening to tape recordings of phone calls between bankers from various institutions.
John Bowe and William McAteer from Anglo and Denis Casey and Peter Fitzpatrick from IL&P have all pleaded not guilty to being involved in a €7.2bn conspiracy to mislead depositors, investors and lenders by making Anglo's deposits look much healthier than they were.
The alleged transactions involved money being transferred from Anglo to IL&P and then deposited back with Anglo by Irish Life's life insurance business so it would appear in the figures as a corporate deposit.
The trial heard evidence today from Matt Cullen, a former director of Treasury at Anglo Irish Bank.
He gave evidence about phone calls relating to transactions between Anglo and IL&P in March and in September 2008. Anglo had to report its half year figures in March and its year-end figures at the end of September.
In one call, a number of Anglo executives including John Bowe and Mr Cullen discussed what could be done to support Anglo's balance over 31 March - when it had to report its half-year figures.
Peter Fitzgerald, Anglo's former director of Corporate and Retail Treasury, asked to hear from Mr Cullen and another executive about specific funding initiatives before opening the floor to "all of the wide and wonderful possibilities".
Mr Cullen discussed the March plan to transfer €500m and possibly more to IL&P who would then give it back to Anglo through Irish Life Assurance.
The court heard Mr Bowe telling the call that the only issue they needed to think about was from a regulatory point of view. He said the regulator was more or less saying "Look. I'm not looking...do what you want..."
The court has been told IL&P agreed to a figure of €750m in relation to the March transaction.
A call on 27 March between Mr Cullen and Mr Bowe and David Gantly from IL&P was played to the jury.
In it, Mr Gantly suggested that Anglo should deposit the money in two smaller sums and said it might be better to disguise it somewhat.
Mr Cullen said this was because if news of the transaction got out it might affect market confidence.
Mr Gantly also suggested that everything should be "as tight as a duck's ass" in terms of the team involved in the transactions. He also suggested making a few different payments so it didn't look very obvious.
The jury also heard extracts from calls in September 2008. In one call Mr Bowe and Mr Cullen discussed the proposed transactions with IL&P.
When Mr Cullen said he told Mr Gantly Anglo would help them out at the end of their year-end in December, Mr Bowe said "that's if we get to the end of the year".
Mr Cullen told Mr Bowe he thought IL&P would agree to €6bn worth of transactions.
He said, as they see it they might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
Earlier the court heard that Anglo was exploring a number of initiatives in an attempt to get funding in before its year-end. But by September, the only option left on the table was the scheme involving IL&P.