Three former employees of Anglo Irish Bank have been given jail terms of between 18 months and three years for conspiring to hide accounts connected to Sean FitzPatrick from Revenue Commissioners.
Tiarnan O'Mahoney, 56, Anglo's former chief operating office was sentenced to three years for knowingly furnishing false information to Revenue, conspiring to have accounts deleted from the bank's core banking system and conspiring to defraud Revenue.
Bernard Daly, 67, who was the bank's company secretary was sentenced to two years for furnishing false information and conspiring to delete accounts from the system and defraud Revenue
Aoife Maguire, 62, a former assistant manager at the bank was sentenced to 18 months for conspiring to delete accounts and conspiring to defraud Revenue.
Judge Pat McCartan said this was a very difficult case to deal with.
He said it was not often that people of such otherwise impeccable character come before the court to be sentenced. He said he had to balance their position with the public interest.
Judge McCartan said banking must be built on trust and honesty.
He said Revenue played a critical role in our society in collecting charges needed to sustain services. He said Anglo Irish Bank had a very dishonest approach to its Revenue responsibilities.
He said when the bank's lie that it had no DIRT responsibilities was exposed, it put together a team.
This team on the one hand was to co-operate with Revenue but on the other hand, secretly and silently to protect the interests of the bank's Chief Executive, Sean FitzPatrick.
The judge said the team was put together at the request of O'Mahoney - Maguire played a key role to sift out anything that might be embarrassing for the Chief Executive and liaise with O'Mahoney - and the team was overseen by Daly.
Judge McCartan said when the Revenue audit was finished, the team continued on with its work to ensure potential embarrassment for the Chief Executive did not emerge from the accounts.
The judge said all of this was done out of misplaced loyalty.
He praised those who decided to archive the accounts instead of delete them.
Judge McCartan said the accounts would have remained hidden but for the fall of Anglo and the appointment of a new team who were looking into the issue of directors' loans.
He said what they uncovered reflected the workings of a very sick bank.
The judge said these were deliberate offences at the higher end of the scale. But he had to take into account a number of mitigating factors.
He said they had no convictions, were of impeccable character and had co-operated with gardaí.
The judge said it was fair to say they had not gained - they had acted out of loyalty. He said the fact that they were now older, would make serving time in prison harder.
He said this was a significant and deliberate fraud, which was well designed, not rash and continued over time and said a prison sentence was warranted.
Judge McCartan sentenced O'Mahoney to three years in prison. He sentenced Daly to two years as he was not as senior, and sentenced Maguire to 18 months in prison reflecting her more junior role.
Earlier, the judge heard pleas for mitigation on behalf of all three.
The court heard none of them had any previous convictions and none of them had personally gained from what had been done.
Submissions were made about their family life. The court heard about Daly's long involvement in charity work and the involvement of O'Mahoney and Maguire in their local GAA clubs and in training and mentoring young people.
Mr FitzPatrick again featured in the submissions made to the court.
Lawyers for Daly told the court the case against Mr FitzPatrick had at all times been stronger than against Daly, but unaccountably, Mr FitzPatrick had not been prosecuted for any involvement in these matters.
Senior Counsel, Sean Guerin said in sentencing Daly, the court should bear in mind the impunity Mr Fitzpatrick has been fortunate enough to meet in relation to these matters.
Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan said the beneficiary and prime mover in what had happened was Mr FitzPatrick.
He said the case was hard to divorce from the adverse publicity attaching to anything to do with the toxic name of Anglo Irish Bank.
But the jury had been told the bank was not on trial and he wanted to remind everyone in court that Anglo was not for sentencing either.