Seán FitzPatrick: resigned from bank

SENIOR gardaí and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement have insisted that investigations into financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank "cannot be rushed" and could take a further 12 months before they are completed.

The comments this weekend come as Alan Dukes, former government minister and non-executive director of Anglo, expressed his frustration at the delay in the progress of these investigations. Finance minister Brian Lenihan told reporters on Thursday that he "shared that concern".

Speaking to the Sunday Tribune this weekend, Dukes said, "I find it a bit odd that [corporate enforcer] Mr [Paul] Appleby said in February that there were grounds for investigating what happened in Anglo, but I understand no action was taken until April. And more recently he said it will be the end of the year or even later before he has anything to report.

"From the bank's point of view, it is very undesirable that this investigation has not been completed but I am not saying that it should be rushed... It is very difficult for the bank to have it hanging over us. I would personally like to have it sorted."

An investigation by the Garda National Bureau of Fraud Investigation into Anglo's affairs was launched six months ago when officers raided the bank's head office in Dublin.

A senior garda source said, "The investigation is extremely complex... For us to do it professionally will take considerable time and effort. It will be well into next year before it's finished. We would be doing a terrible injustice to the people of Ireland if this was not thorough."

"While gardaí can send files to the DPP in relation to an individual's involvement in criminality at the bank at any stage, it may be preferable to wait until the investigation is complete and we get the full picture".

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement said its investigation was "time-consuming" and involved "testing our powers where they have never been tested before".