Disgraced Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick could face criminal charges after a dramatic move by Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions.
DPP James Hamilton intervened on Monday night to stop an accountancy watchdog disciplinary inquiry being convened against FitzPatrick.
The former Anglo Irish boss was due to appear before a public tribunal of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board next month.
But the Irish Independent has reported that DPP Hamilton asked CARB to postpone the inquiry in case it prejudices possible charges against FitzPatrick.
The paper claims the intervention is the: “firmest signal to date that the DPP is close to making a decision on the matter.”
Fraud squad detectives and Ireland’s Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement have been investigating Anglo Irish Bank for over two years and began submitting files to the DPP late last year.
CARB communications executive Paul Daly told the Irish Independent: “The DPP expressed his concern that the holding of public hearings and the publication of findings might prejudice future criminal proceedings in the event that a prosecution is directed against any party arising from the investigations of the police and the ODCE.”
The CARB inquiry was due to question FitzPatrick about his role in several key events which are also being investigated by Irish police and the ODCE.
The Irish Independent reports that these include:
* The movement of more than €7bn between Anglo and Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) in a ‘back-to-back’ deposit arrangement for the benefit of Anglo at the end of the financial year in 2008.
* The temporary transfer of up to €100m of his own loans off the books of Anglo Irish Bank.
* A loan made to former Anglo finance director Willie McAteer in 2008.
FitzPatrick, declared bankrupt last July, was arrested and questioned in March last year and has consistently denied any wrongdoing. He previously told the Irish Independent he would be ‘vindicated’ if any charges were brought against him.