Government orders ODCE report within the next four weeks

The corporate watchdog has accepted criticisms of its investigation which resulted in the acquittal of Sean FitzPatrick

Government orders ODCE report within the next four weeks

Sean FitzPatrick. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Government has set a deadline of June 23rd for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) to submit a report outlining, "exactly what went wrong here," following its investigation into charges arising from alleged multi-million euro loans issued to Sean FitzPatrick from Anglo Irish Bank.

A statement from Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, stated: "I intend to complete a full review and examine all possible options – nothing is off the table."

Mr Fitzpatrick, who stepped down as Anglo Irish Bank’s Chairman in 2008, was accused of failing to disclose multi-million euro loans to the bank’s auditors.

In his ruling, Judge Aylmer said there was a real concern that Mr Fitzpatrick was being denied his constitutional right to a fair trial. He said there were "fundamental errors" in the investigation carried out by the ODCE, and singled out the taking of witness statements from the prosecution’s key witnesses - Ernst & Young auditors Kieran Kelly and Vincent Bergin - for particular criticism.

He said the witnesses had been coached and there was evidence of cross-contamination.

Mr Aylmer went on to describe the shredding of documents by the lead investigator Kevin O’Connell as a "worrying feature."

In response, the ODCE issued a statement to say it "fully accepts that criticism" but defended itself by saying it wasn’t equipped to undertake such an investigation at the time and is a "very different organisation" now.

"I do not accept that this is entirely an issue of funding and resources," Ms Mitchell O'Connor said in her statement today.

"We owe it to those who suffered during the crash to never, ever allow something of this nature happen again," the Dún Laoghaire TD added.

Additional reporting by Frank Greaney