Thursday, May 5, 2011

No Prosecution in Sight for Anglo Irish Bank Executives

The Independent reports that "Significant delays in the Anglo investigation were revealed in the High Court yesterday. The blame for the hold-up was partly attributed to the refusal of certain key figures to be interviewed or provide witness statements."
This protracted saga does not seem to be nearing an end anytime soon. Most observers cannot fathom the delay and it seems the judge is losing patience too:
Mr Justice Peter Kelly expressed concern about the delay in completing an investigation that began more than two years ago when millions of files were seized during a raid on the bank's St Stephen's Green headquarters.
The judge was hearing an application that would allow the investigation to continue for another six months.
He is due to make a decision on the matter next Tuesday.
Lawyers for the ODCE told Mr Justice Kelly that "every effort" would be made to complete it by the end of this year.

Justice Kelly is absolutely right to express concern. We are not dealing with opaque CDOs and other exotic transactions here. What happened in these banks is relatively straightforward, the only question is whether there is enough evidence to back up criminal charges. You would think that there were millions of complex documents and hundreds of people to interview - as would be typical in major litigation but even that does not appear to be the case here:
The court heard files and reports running to 12,000 pages and related to three of the five issues being investigated were sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in December 2010 and March of this year.

12,000 pages in 5 months?  Assuming one person only works 20 days/month on this material that's just 120 pages a day.
The average person probably reads no slower than 50 pages/hour, and with a lazy 8 hour work day could read 400 pages. So they must be very slow at reading there.

The report also notes that "the judge was told there was no indication yet what view the DPP had taken on the material and that it could take another two years to complete any criminal prosecution.

In response, the judge asked if the investigation was "ever going to come to an end". He noted the investigation had been adjourned and extended six times by the court and said he was not "a rubber stamp".
The whole saga does not inspire much faith in the system.