Belfast Telegraph

Bank fraud probe 'still a priority'

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has again expressed his frustration at the length of time a fraud investigation is taking into rogue lender Anglo Irish Bank.

And responding to criticism over a lack of white-collar crime convictions, he also insisted it was inevitable Garda inquiries into the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals would take some time.

Mr Shatter made his remarks after Cabinet colleague and Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte questioned the "interminable delay" of criminal investigations into political corruption and banking wrongdoing in an interview with the Sunday Independent.

Mr Shatter said he has already made it clear that the length of time the Anglo Irish Bank investigation is taking was a "source of frustration" for himself, the Government and people generally.

But he said Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan assured him the inquiries were an absolute priority.

Pointing to legislation brought in by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition last year to help gardai tackle white-collar crime, he said officers were now able to use those new powers to gain access to material which had been previously unavailable to them.

"Two substantially complete investigation files were submitted by the Garda Bureau of Investigation to the Director of Public Prosecutions in December 2010," he said.

"There is ongoing contact between the Gardai and the Office of the Director, and the counsel appointed by the Director, and various further inquiries have been undertaken and papers submitted.

"The commissioner has assured me that this work is receiving absolute priority."

The investigation into Anglo Irish was launched more than three years ago.

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