Anonymous call delays trial verdict as former Anglo officials guilty of conspiracy
Three former Anglo Irish Bank officials have been convicted of conspiring to conceal or alter bank accounts being sought by Revenue which were connected to chairman Sean FitzPatrick.
Former chief operations officer Tiarnan O'Mahoney, former company secretary Bernard Daly and former assistant manager Aoife Maguire were found guilty on all charges by the jury after nearly seven hours' deliberations and a two- month trial.
They will be sentenced today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The verdict was delayed due to a anonymous false claim that the foreman's wife was good friends with Maguire.
The signal came just before 1pm yesterday that a verdict had been reached but prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn said an issue had arisen.
He said in the previous 10 or 15 minutes the office of the DPP had received a phone call from someone who said the jury was not "wholly independent".
He would only give his first name.
The court heard the caller stated that Ms Maguire and the foreman's wife were friends.
Mr McGinn asked the judge to delay taking the verdict because "if there is some indication of jury tampering or irregularity nothing can be done once the verdict is returned".
Counsel asked for the jury to be sent to lunch while the prosecution investigated the matter.
After lunch the prosecution said the caller had got some facts wrong and that this indicated they were not telling the truth. Mr McGinn said his instructions now were for the court to take a verdict.
The judge asked the jury foreman if his wife was friendly with Maguire.
The foreman said she wasn't and this was accepted by the judge who then took the guilty verdicts
Daly and O'Mahoney face five-year terms for supplying incorrect information to Revenue. All three face indeterminate sentences for the charges of conspiracy.
Judge McCartan said he was very concerned about what happened over lunch and that he "regretfully" was going to remand the three in custody until sentencing.
Daly (67), of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin; O'Mahoney (56), of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow; and Maguire (62), of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin had pleaded not guilty to seven charges.
The charges alleged that in 2003 and 2004 they conspired to hide or omit accounts, connected to Mr FitzPatrick, from Anglo's Core Banking System (CBS) or from documentation provided to Revenue, who were conducting an investigation into bogus non-resident accounts which may have been liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (Dirt).
Judge McCartan told the jurors that the bank itself was not on trial and that they must only judge the guilt or innocence of the three accused.
The accuseds' barristers asked the jury not to treat their clients as proxies for the defunct bank and to leave any animosity towards Anglo at the door.
The accounts concerned were connected to Mr FitzPatrick in various ways. One was in the name of his brother-in-law John Peter O'Toole who lived in Australia.
Bank records showed numerous transactions made on the account by Mr FitzPatrick in Dublin.
The jury heard that Revenue did eventually receive the O'Toole account, which was a genuine off-shore account and not liable for Dirt.
However, Judge McCartan told the jury that the offence of conspiracy occurs when there is an agreement to commit a crime. It does not matter if that crime was successfully completed.