A High Court Judge has questioned attempts by Anglo Irish Bank not to disclose certain documents relating to five investigations currently under way into its former chief executive.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said it appeared the State-owned bank was seeking to protect bank officials who may be the subject of the investigations by statutory bodies.
He made the observation during an application by the Anglo's former Chief Executive David Drumm to have proceedings against him struck out due to the bank's failure to ‘make proper discovery’ or disclose certain documents.
Mr Drumm is contesting the bank's claim of litigation privilege over the documents and says the bank is not entitled to make such a claim.
Senior Counsel for the bank, John Hennessey, told the court that it is now the subject of five different investigations by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Financial Regulator, the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board and the Irish Auditing Accountants Supervisory Board.
Mr Hennessy said the investigations could lead to civil litigation against the bank and therefore it was entitled not to disclose certain documents relating to these investigations.
He said Mr Drumm and his legal representatives said in their submissions to the court that they had no information on the investigations.
He said he was not sure if they were saying this ‘tongue in cheek’ as it was so widely known that the bank was being investigated.
Justice Kelly said there was now a situation where a State-owned bank being investigated by five statutory authorities was seeking to protect those being investigated by claiming privilege over documents.
Mr Hennessey said: ‘The bank is the bank and is entitled to its good name as a corporate being.’
Mr Justice Kelly said he could understand the adoption of such a position if the bank was still in private ownership but it was state owned, he said.
Anglo Irish Bank is trying to recoup €8.3m in loans to its former chief executive and the case is due to be heard in October.
Mr Drumm has asked the Commercial Court to strike out the proceedings against him on the basis that the bank has failed to properly disclose documents and has failed to file proper sworn statements in the case.
The hearing continues tomorrow.