The High Court has approved an application by the Director of Corporate Enforcement for a six month extension of an order related to its investigation into the affairs of Anglo Irish Bank.

Lawyers for the Director of Corporate Enforcement told Mr Justice Peter Kelly that investigators had begun taking statements from individuals and that the investigation was particularly concerned with the files of 20 members of staff relating to the period between January 2008 and February 2009.

The information has been seized under search warrants obtained earlier this year in a joint investigation between the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation into suspected breaches of company law.

A sworn statement by a Garda Inspector and officer of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Eamon Keogh, said thousand of electronic files were being examined and up to three million electronic attachment messages needed to be examined in detail.

Lawyers for the bank said it was cooperating with the investigation and was happy to consent to the extension order.

Paul O Higgins, SC for the Director, was unable to say how long the process of taking witness statements would take.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said it was quite clear that a huge volume of electronic material needed to be examined which was a daunting task.

He agreed to extend an order made last October on how the seized documents are to be retained and how issues of any legal professional privilege which could attach to some documents are dealt with.