The long-awaited Ansbacher Report is published and names 190 of the country's wealthiest and best known business people.
The report concludes that the Ansbacher Scheme, which was run by the late Des Traynor, was set up to facilitate widespread tax evasion and to defraud the revenue authorities. However, the High Court Inspectors, who wrote the report, said that they foresaw difficulty in bringing prosecutions.
The much anticipated ten thousand page report was finally published and made available at 9.30 am on 6 July 2002. The report cost the tax payer €3.2 million to get to the bottom of what was a secret bank operating within the state for over 20 years.
During the mid 1980s there was at least £200 million sterling held in the accounts.
The Inspectors say it is important to bear in mind that a finding that any particular individual is a client of Ansbacher, is not a finding that that person has evaded tax.
Tanaiste Mary Harney describes the findings as a
Damning insight into a world of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion over a long number of years.
The report at various points describes the activities of Ansbacher Cayman as little more than a charade, a sham, and a legal fiction.
The report highlights the fact that secrecy and concealment were essential elements of the scheme operated by the late Des Traynor.
Secrecy was the lifeblood without which these activities could not have endured.
While some of the names in the report were already in the public domain, many more are revealed for the first time. They include the property developer John Byrne, builder George Crampton, auctioneer John Finnegan, architects Arthur Gibney and Sam Stephenson, and hoteliers PV Doyle and his son David Doyle. Among the politicians named are the late Hugh Coveney, as well as Charles Haughey and Denis Foley. Some of the former board members of the Roadstone Cement Holdings, one of the largest companies in the state, are also named including Jim Culleton, Dermot Quirke, Robert Willis, Tony Barry, Michael Dargan, Gerald Hickey and Richard Wood.
After this massive investigation, it is unlikely that the people named in the report will face prosecution. However, they will face the revenue commissioners, who have already collected in excess of €18 million in settlements.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 6 July 2002. The reporter is Charlie Bird.