Belfast Telegraph

Witnesses delay Anglo Irish probe

Investigations into the Anglo Irish Bank scandal are being hampered by a small number of reluctant witnesses who include former banking executives.

Director of corporate enforcement Paul Appleby said "more than 10" individuals were not co-operating with his team's attempts to get to the bottom of the rogue lender's role in bringing the country to its knees.

Despite a looming High Court-ordered deadline to wrap up the two-and-half-year probe by next month, Mr Appleby revealed he will be forced to plead for more time because of the delays and complexities involved.

"There are some people who are reluctant to engage with us," he said.

Mr Appleby said it was important he gets statements from the small band of key witnesses who have so far refused to speak to Garda officers working for him on the investigation. Some are living in Ireland and some overseas.

Only last month, High Court Judge Peter Kelly refused a request for a six-month extension on the two-pronged investigation by Mr Appleby's office and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI), saying progress was unsatisfactory.

But Mr Appleby again defended the time it was taking, comparing it to similar probes by the UK's Serious Fraud Office which take between four and six years.

He is expected to give a detailed explanation of his difficulties to Judge Kelly on July 28. "It's very likely we will need an extension," he said.

Just one completed file has been sent so far to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), on a particular loan given by Anglo to a former director.

Another file on the loan of 450 million euro to a group of 10 investors known as the Golden Circle to help them buy a 10% share in the bank - that had originally been built up by businessman Sean Quinn - has been handed over but it is only "90% completed".

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