Sean FitzPatrick: investigation

THE report of an investigation by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (Carb), involving its members nd scandal-hit Anglo Irish Bank, has been delayed until at least April.

The report by former Comptroller and Auditor General John Purcell was expected to be finalised by the end of February, but the growing list of issues being investigated has pushed back the completion date until the second quarter of the year, it is understood.

Purcell was appointed by Carb, the regulatory arm of Chartered Accountants Ireland, last February to investigate the disclosure of loans held by former Anglo Irish chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

The probe has since been widened to cover loans to other senior Anglo executives, the bank's deposit-switching transactions with Irish Life & Permanent, and loans Anglo Irish gave to the so-called "golden circle" of favoured clients to buy a 10% stake in the bank.

It is understood Purcell has conducted interviews with those involved in the various transactions. If he finds preliminary evidence that the institute's by-laws were broken, there will be another inquiry, which will be held in public. The body can ban or fine any member found to have broken its by-laws.

Anglo is already under investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, led by Paul Appleby, and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation. It is understood the accountants' body would halt its inquiry if charges were brought against individuals.

FitzPatrick, along with former Anglo chief executive David Drumm and former finance director Willie McAteer, are members of Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Purcell is also looking into the roles of the bank's former auditors, Ernst & Young, and former Irish Life finance director Peter Fitzpatrick.