Three Irish bankers were jailed on Friday as a custodial sentence was handed down for a first time to those involved in the multi-billion fraud at Anglo-Irish Bank.
Former Anglo chief operations officer Tiarnan O’Mahoney, former company secretary Bernard Daly and former assistant manager Aoife Maguire were found guilty on Thursday on all charges and were sentenced yesterday.
It is thought to be the first time any senior Irish banking figure has been sent to jail amid ongoing fraud and corruption scandals since the collapse of the banking system in the 26 County state seven years ago.
A judge sentenced the three former Anglo Irish Bank employees to jail for conspiring to hide accounts connected to former chairman Sean FitzPatrick from the state’s tax authorities.
O’Mahoney, who was second in command at the bank, received a three year sentence. Daly was sentenced to two years and Maguire was jailed for 18 months.
All three had pleaded not guilty to seven charges.
Judge Pat McCartan said it was a difficult case and that banking must be built on trust and honesty. He said Anglo Irish Bank had had a very dishonest approach to its responsibilities and it was clear the three took part in a deliberate and ongoing fraud to stop Mr FitzPatrick’s accounts from being disclosed.
He said the accused’s actions were “done out of misplaced loyalty but were still dishonest”.
The court heard arguments that Sean FitzPatrick was the “prime-mover” and main beneficiary of the fraud. Counsel for Daly, Sean Guerin SC, had asked the judge to bear in mind that the case against the Anglo boss, who has never been charged in relation to the fraud, was stronger than the one against his client.
He asked the judge to consider “the impunity that Mr FitzPatrick has been fortunate enough to meet in these matters”.
Meanwhile, there have been calls for a fraud investigation at Permanent TSB (Permanent Trustee Savings Bank) after it admitted this week it has been ripping off its customers.
The bank said it would move to provide “redress” to over 1,300 customers unfairly moved off tracker mortgages, including dozens who were forced had their homes seized following the escalation in interest rates.
Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty accused the Minister of Finance Michael Noonan of “sitting on his hands” over the issue, which has been public knowledge for at least five years.
“Minister Michael Noonan was the sole shareholder in PTSB for the duration of this scandal yet for years under his watch, this State owned bank ripped off hundreds of customers and even after being exposed fought to the bitter end to delay redress.
“We have to remember that the bank went to great lengths to avoid moving their customers back onto tracker rate mortgages including refusing mediation and appealing every decision made against it in the courts.
“Questions must be asked as to why it was diligent customers that spotted this rip-off and not the Central Bank with its regulatory powers and why, five years later, we still have no sanctions or fines announced from the Central Bank for Permanent TSB.”