Commercial Court told of potential conflict in relation to proceedings
FORMER ANGLO Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick and senior executive Pat Whelan have told the Commercial Court they are concerned an action due to be heard later this month against the bank’s former head of lending may conflict with criminal proceedings pending against them.
Both Mr Fitzpatrick and Mr Whelan have been subpoenaed by Thomas Browne to give evidence as part of his defence to an action by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) over some €50 million in loans advanced to him by Anglo prior to its collapse.
Mr Browne, Ferney Hill, Brighton Road, Foxrock, Dublin, head of lending at Anglo between 2005 and 2007, claims he has no liability on grounds including, when the loans were made, that the bank was allegedly aware that the interest acquired by Seán Quinn in the bank was such as to undermine its stability and to render his shareholding valueless.
Had he known of such matters, he would never have exercised his share options in late November 2007 or held on to shares which became “worthless”, he claims.
The case is listed for hearing on October 16th but, when it was mentioned yesterday to address case management issues, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he had received an email from solicitors representing Seán FitzPatrick and Pat Whelan which referred to the pending criminal proceedings against them and the fact that both had been summons to appear as witnesses in the action involving Mr Browne and the bank. The email pointed out that there might be a conflict in relation to the two sets of proceedings, the judge said.
John Rogers SC, for Mr Browne, said the evidence from Mr Whelan would be “critical” to his client’s position as he was a witness to the evolving events in the bank, particularly during the period September to November 2007.
Mr Justice Kelly, who manages the Commercial Court list, said Mr Justice Brian McGovern would hear the six-day case. He added that he would hear tomorrow the application by Mr FitzPatrick and Mr Whelan to have the proceedings adjourned.
The judge will also deal tomorrow with an application concerning the sequencing of evidence in the case.
The Commercial Court was previously told that Mr McAteer and Mr Fitzpatrick would be asked to give evidence of their knowledge of the Quinn family shareholding within Anglo, evidence of loans by the bank to support that shareholding and the extent of the Anglo Board’s knowledge of those matters.
Mr Browne has also subpoenaed several other former or serving directors, non-executive directors and officials of Anglo.
His lawyers previously said they also intended to call Seán Quinn snr and two former Quinn Group executives, Liam McCaffrey and Dara O’Reilly, to give evidence, as well as Irish Times journalist Simon Carswell.