Bribes and blackmail uncovered as former bank worker arrested in major fraud probe
Fraud squad detectives encountered a sinister blackmail plot when they launched an investigation into a former employee of the Central Bank, who allegedly committed fraud crimes after he set up a business to help clients apply for bank licences.
The former Central Bank employee, who is in his 40s, was arrested at his home yesterday and brought to Blanchardstown garda station where he was being questioned about his activities after leaving the bank.
The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) launched their probe after receiving a complaint from the suspect’s former employers.
“This is an individual who left employment in the bank and set himself up as a legitimate financial consultant in which he stated that he would be able to help clients obtain licences from the Central Bank,” a senior source explained.
Last year, two different businesses engaged his services. However, it is understood that they became concerned when “nothing seemed to be done” by the man who has been arrested.
When his clients followed up with him, it is alleged that he sent them “fake emails which claimed to be from a genuine employee of the Central Bank which outlined that their applications had been processed”, the source said.
His clients became suspicious of the emails and it is alleged that they then blackmailed the arrested man and got him to hand over at least €17,000 to them on the basis that they would not report him to the gardaí or his former employers.
However, in the meantime, the bank became aware of the man’s activities and reported the case to gardaí. The GNECB then launched a major investigation.
In the course of the probe, which involved searches in four different counties, detectives found evidence of the blackmailing situation during a number of raids of properties and offices linked to the former bank employee.
“His clients basically decided to extort money from him in that he had to pay compensation to them to prevent the matter being reported to gardaí,” the senior source said.
“Evidence has been found that shows they then all came together and agreed to destroy all the evidence of the suspect’s original fraudulent activity.
“Gardaí are working on the premise that they all allegedly conspired together to pervert the course of justice and more arrests are expected in the coming week in this case. It is a very unusual one.”
The arrested man, who as well as being a suspected blackmail victim is suspected of being part of the conspiracy, is expected to be released without charge, with a file to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Gardaí announced details of his arrest, saying: “The male was reported by his former employer on suspicion of falsifying records and deceiving applicants into believing he had processed their financial applications.
“This fraudulent activity involved using the personal details of current employees, without their authorisation.
“Further to this, the male attempted to destroy evidence of this criminal activity. Corrupt payments totalling €17,000 were also made in the form of bribes in order to conceal this criminal activity.”