Neary cannot recall meetings with Anglo over six-month period
Ex-financial regulator unable to recall various communications
Former financial regulator Patrick Neary arriving at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to give evidence during the trial of three former directors of Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Former financial regulator Patrick Neary has said he cannot recall any meetings, letters or phone calls with Anglo Irish Bank between September 2007 and March 2008 on the topic of Seán Quinn’s stake in the bank.
Mr Neary said he recalled one meeting with Anglo chief executive David Drumm in September 2007 and the next time he had contact with Anglo on the issue was on March 21st, 2008, when the bank told him Mr Quinn’s CFD stake was as high as 28 per cent.
Defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC, for Seán FitzPatrick, told Mr Neary an entry in his diary for November 6th, 2007, referred to a “meeting with Anglo”, but Mr Neary said he could not recall this.
The witness said he was not aware of any meetings, letters or email correspondence with Anglo between September and March, and said he was not asked by anyone in Anglo during that period for help with the situation regarding Mr Quinn’s stake.
Brendan Grehan SC, for Pat Whelan, put it to Mr Neary that there was ongoing contact between him and Mr Drumm and asked him whether there were calls between them in this period. Mr Neary said he could not remember any calls, but he could not “say emphatically” that there were none.
The court was yesterday shown an email that
referred to a meeting between Mr Neary and Mr Drumm on September 27th, 2007. Mr O’Higgins told Mr Neary there was evidence in the case that Mr Drumm had visited him on September 12th that year, but this did not appear in the former regulator’s diary and Mr Neary recalled only one meeting with Mr Drumm that autumn. Mr Neary agreed that the absence of a reference to a September 12th meeting in his diary could have been because it was arranged at short notice.
Mr Neary told Paul O’Higgins SC, for the prosecution, he was not aware of any other occasion on which a bank approached the regulator to discuss the sale of its shares financed by the bank.
He also agreed with Mr Grehan SC, for Pat Whelan, that the situation in 2008 was “entirely unique” in his experience of the regulator’s office and that he had never been in a situation where “massive banks” were failing.