FitzPatrick faces trial on charges of financial misdeclarations
Seán FitzPatrick, the former chairman and chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, has been released on bail after appearing in court charged with deceiving the failed bank’s auditors in relation to his personal loans over a six year period.
Mr FitzPatrick (64), Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, appeared before Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court charged with 12 offences between 2002 and 2007, under section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.
Six of the charges relate to Mr FitzPatrick knowingly excluding or failing to disclose the true amount of borrowings to him or persons close to him in statements to the bank’s auditors Ernst Young.
Balance of loans
Mr FitzPatrick is alleged to have authorised arrangements “to ensure that the balance of those loans would or would appear temporarily to be reduced at year-end”.
He is alleged to have made false statements to Ernst Young in relation to a reduction to those borrowings of not less than €5.1 million on or about November 27th, 2002; and €14 million on or about November 25th, 2003.
Further such statements were made in relation to sums of not less than €23 million on or about November 23rd, 2004; €42.1 million on or about November 22nd, 2005; €60.9 million on or about December 5th, 2006; and €139.8 million on or about November 27th, 2007.
He was also charged with six counts of failing to disclose an arrangement between Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society under which the building society loaned him money between 2002 and 2007.
The court heard that Mr FitzPatrick was arrested yesterday at 9.04am by appointment at the Bridewell Garda station in Dublin. He was called before the court at 11.42am.
Det Garda Insp Raymond Kavanagh, who is on secondment to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, told the court of Mr FitzPatrick’s arrest and caution. He said Mr FitzPatrick replied “no comment” when each of the 12 charges was put to him.
State solicitor Jane Farrell said the 12 charges would go forward on indictment, which means the case will be sent for trial by judge and jury to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Mr FitzPatrick could face penalties on indictment of a fine of up to €12,697 and/or a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Defence solicitor Michael Staines, for Mr FitzPatrick, told Judge Walsh that his client had consented to coming to the Bridewell to be arrested at short notice.
Mr FitzPatrick was released on bail on his own bond of €1,000.
Det Garda Insp Kavanagh said he had no objection to bail so long as Mr FitzPatrick resided at his home address and gave 48 hours’ notice of any change, signed on once a week at Irishtown Garda station and provided 48 hours’ notice to the Garda of any plans to leave the State.
Judge Walsh ordered Mr FitzPatrick to appear again in court on March 1st, when he will be served with a book of evidence.
Anglo charges: former directors could be tried next year
Three former employees of the failed Anglo Irish Bank have previously appeared in court in connection with financial irregularities at the institution, now part of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
Seán FitzPatrick, Anglo’s former chairman and chief executive, former Anglo finance director Willie McAteer and the bank’s former managing director for Ireland, Patrick Whelan, were charged in July.
They are expected to go on trial next year accused of unlawfully helping to back investors – including members of Seán Quinn’s family – to buy Anglo shares in 2008.
A spokesman for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement said there was no indication yet as to when the case would progress.
The three men were charged this summer following a three- year investigation by detectives from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation attached to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement into alleged financial irregularities at the failed bank.
The charges allege that before Anglo was nationalised, the three men permitted the bank to “give unlawful financial assistance” to 16 individuals for the purpose of, or in connection with, a purchase by the same people of shares in the then Anglo Irish Bank Corporation.
In October, State solicitor Jane Farrell told Judge Cormac Dunne that books of evidence were ready to be served.