Judge in Anglo trial deems legal advice evidence irrelevant

No further questioning of witnesses in relation to legal advice allowed, court hears

Pat Whelan (51) of Malahide, Co Dublin; William Mc Ateer (63) of Rathgar, Dublin; and Sean Fitzpatrick (65) of Greystones, Co Wicklow have been charged with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank, contrary to Section 60 of the Companies Act.

Pat Whelan (51) of Malahide, Co Dublin; William Mc Ateer (63) of Rathgar, Dublin; and Sean Fitzpatrick (65) of Greystones, Co Wicklow have been charged with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank, contrary to Section 60 of the Companies Act.

Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 13:48

The issue of whether legal advice was obtained by Anglo Irish Bank in relation to loans to the Maple 10 and the Quinn family is irrelevant, the Judge in the trial of three former directors of the bank said this morning.

Judge Martin Nolan told the jury they should not speculate about what steps were taken or what the legal advice must have been in relation to the loans.

The loans were given by the bank to 10 businessmen and to members of the Quinn family to buy bank shares in July 2008 as part of a scheme to unwind the Quinn holding in the bank, the court had earlier heard.

“This issue is simply not relevant to the guilt or innocence of the accused,” the judge said.

He told the jury this applied to any past references to legal advice in evidence already given. And he said he had ruled there would be no further questioning of any witness on the issue.

Seán FitzPatrick (65) of Greystones, Co Wicklow; Willie McAteer (63) of Rathgar, Dublin; and Pat Whelan (51) of Malahide, Dublin, have been charged with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank, contrary to section 60 of the Companies Act.

Mr Whelan has also been charged with being privy to the fraudulent alteration of loan facility letters to seven individuals. All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Finishing her evidence this morning, Anne Heraty, a former non-executive director of the bank, said she could not recall whether Mr FitzPatrick told her the Maple 10 would be given loans to buy the bank shares in July 2008.

She told the court Mr FitzPatrick phoned her and said 10 high net worth individuals would be buying shares in the bank. He did not name the individuals and she did not know they were all customers of the bank.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Mr FitzPatrick, said his client’s position would be that he did in fact tell Ms Heraty that the Maple 10 would be given loans by the bank. He also told her that all 10 were customers of the bank.

“I just can’t clearly recall,” Ms Heraty said.

The case continues.