WILLIE ON THE RACK; Ex-Anglo Finance Chief Is Arrested in Fraud Inquiry

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Byline: AINE HEGARTY

GARDAI continued to turn the screw on former Anglo bosses yesterday as another ex-manager at the bank was arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Former finance director William McAteer, 59, was taken into custody as fresh public fury erupted with news senior staff at the failed bank were to be awarded pay rises.

Detectives brought McAteer to Irishtown Garda station as officers removed files from his plush Rathgar home in South Dublin.

His arrest on suspicion of offences against the Theft and Fraud Offences Act came just days after his pal and ex-chairman Sean FitzPatrick was grilled for 24 hours.

It's understood questioning by gardai focused on allegations of false accounting.

Documents have revealed how McAteer told failed former Financial Regulator Patrick Neary that he would be "managing" the bank's balance sheets. Neary allegedly replied "Fair play to you, Willie."

McAteer resigned last January and Neary stood down after a transcript of a phone call revealed how bank officials explained what they were doing to "manipulate our balance sheet". They were told to make sure it "looks as good as possible" to which a regulator's official replies: "OK, that's grand."

Gardai are probing the transfer of EUR7.45billion from Irish Life and Permanent to Anglo in order to falsely boost Anglo's balance sheet before year-end accounts were published.

The arrest came amid huge public fury that nearly 80 senior staff at Anglo are getting pay rises - even though the bank is preparing to announce the worst losses in the history of the state.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen washed his hands of the pay hike claiming the Government couldn't get involved in the day-to-day running of the bank. …