The Central Bank says it has decided to put off an examination of certain issues arising from its investigation of Anglo Irish Bank.

In a short statement, the Central Bank said it had been told by the Gardaí that to go ahead with its examination now could prejudice any future criminal prosecutions.

The bank said it would keep its decision under review.

It said that it had notified with the Gardaí and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement of certain suspected offences at an early stage in its probe, and continued to keep in regular contact with both agencies.

Yesterday, the Director of Corporate Enforcement defended the conduct of its investigation into matters at Anglo Irish Bank, saying that more than 10 witnesses in his office's investigation could be classed as 'reluctant'.

Paul Appleby said comparisons had been made between the speed of the investigation and the speed of similar investigations in the US. But he said that was not a good comparison, and it would be better to look at the UK, where similar investigations typically take four to six years.

Mr Appleby added, however, that he believed the Anglo investigation was currently well ahead of that benchmark, and he was satisfied that it was proceeding with all possible speed.