Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Ltd -v- Companies Acts, [2011] IEHC 164 (2011)

Docket Number:2010 323 COS
Party Name:Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Ltd, Companies Acts
Judge:Kelly J.
 
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THE HIGH COURT 2010 323 COS

IN THE MATTER OF ANGLO IRISH BANK CORPORATION LIMITED

AND IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPANIES ACTS 1963 – 2009

BETWEEN

DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT APPLICANTAND

ANGLO IRISH BANK CORPORATION LIMITEDRESPONDENT

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Kelly delivered on the 10

th

day of May, 2011

Introduction

The collapse of Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Limited (Anglo) has had profound and serious consequences for the economic wellbeing of this State and its’ citizens. It has caused much hardship to many small shareholders who invested in it in good faith. It played no small part in seriously damaging Ireland’s business reputation throughout the world.

In such circumstances, one could reasonably expect that the relevant authorities in the State would carry out a comprehensive investigation so as to ascertain whether any breach or breaches of the criminal law might have occurred in respect of the activities of Anglo and those who were responsible for it.

The applicant (the Director) has indeed been carrying out an investigation together with the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and it is that investigation which gives rise to the current application.

The application concerns the treatment of material which was obtained on foot of warrants granted by the District Court to the Director in February, March and September 2009. This involved the use of what is statutorily described as an “extended power of seizure”.

In this application, the Director seeks orders pursuant to s. 20(2G)(a) of the Companies Act 1990 as inserted by s. 5 of the Companies (Amendment) Act 2009 to extend the period specified under s. 20(2I)(a)(i) to deal with such material for a further period of six months from the date specified in a similar order which I made on 9th November, 2010. A second order is sought in the same terms in respect of potentially legally privileged material.

This is the sixth time on which the Director has applied for orders of this type. The first occasion was in October 2009.

The Application

The statutory provision relied upon by the Director provides that an application may be made to the court by the Director or any person affected by the exercise of an extended power of seizure. An extended power of seizure was exercised in the present case and that is not in contest. In such circumstances, the Act provides that the court “may, if it thinks fit and having had regard, in particular, to any submissions made on behalf of the Director with regard to the progress of any investigation being carried on by the Director for the purpose of which the powers under this section had been exercised, give one or more” directions (my emphasis). The direction which is sought here is a further extension for a period of six months within which to deal with the material which has been the subject of the extended power of seizure.

At earlier hearings, I directed that if...

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