Bank of Ireland employees change stance about testimony in OneCoin case

Maria Nikolova

In the face of their previous representations regarding their willingness to testify in the cryptocurrency fraud case, BOI employees appear to have decided to beat a retreat.

Getting the testimony of a number of Bank of Ireland employees in the criminal proceedings targeting several individuals associated with fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin is becoming a complex matter, as demonstrated by the latest document filed by the US Government with the New York Southern District Court.

On October 10, 2019, the US Government filed a Letter with the Court, providing details on its request to offer testimony of BOI employees via CCTV during the trial of Mark Scott, who is accused of aiding and abetting the OneCoin fraudulent scheme.

Let’s recall that the Government has asked the Court to offer the testimony of four witnesses during trial via two-way closed-circuit television from a remote location in the Republic of Ireland. The witnesses are all present or former employees of the Bank of Ireland, where Mark Scott maintained corporate bank accounts through which he is alleged to have laundered several hundred million dollars in OneCoin fraud proceeds, accomplished through, among other means, misrepresentations made by the defendant to the witnesses.

The witnesses are Deirdre Ceannt, Derek Collins, Diane Sands, and Greg Begley.

In its Letter to the Court filed on Thursday, the US Government explains that, over the past week, it has continued to engage in discussions with Bank of Ireland in an effort to secure voluntary witness testimony in Ireland. In the course of these discussions, it has become clear that despite the witnesses’ previous representations that they were “willing” to provide testimony, that testimony would not be voluntary, and the witnesses would testify only in response to compulsory process.

On October 8, 2019, BOI counsel informed the Government that Ceannt and Sands would not provide testimony on a voluntary basis outside of the compulsory process under the United States-Ireland Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). On October 9, 2019, BOI informed the Government that Begley and Collins were taking the same position.

That process necessarily involves of the Central Authority of Ireland. The Government has not yet received a response from the Irish Central Authority whether or not it has the ability to accommodate the request in the timeline sought by the Government.

It is now clear that, contrary to the Government’s previously-held understanding that the witnesses would voluntarily provide testimony, the witnesses will only provide compulsory testimony via formal MLAT request. As a result, on October 9, 2019, the Government submitted an MLAT request to the Central Authority of Ireland to compel the witnesses’ live CCTV testimony from Ireland.

Because the witnesses’ testimony is material evidence to the criminal charges in this matter, and the witnesses are clearly unavailable, the Government insists that it has provided a sufficient and reasonable basis to offer this testimony via closed-circuit television.

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