Recourse was key difference between Maple 10 and Quinn family loans
Difference may explain why jury found Whelan and McAteer guilty
Judge Martin Nolan: he said it was “very difficult to see how these monies could ever be in the ordinary course of business since the main purpose of the share purchase was to stabilise the share price”
In the weeks and months leading up to the Anglo trial, two major concerns were aired continually .
The first was that it would be impossible to ensure a fair jury trial in a case that centred on the downfall of one of the most reviled and toxic companies in Irish history, its name synonymous with economic collapse and trauma. How would it be possible, the assumption ran, to find 12 ordinary citizens who were not prejudiced against anyone connected to Anglo?
The second concern was that it would be unrealistic to expect a jury of ordinary citizens to understand such a complex case, one that delved deep into the arcane world of high finance.
- Anglo verdicts greeted in silence as two never flinched
- Eye-opening insights into regulator’s role – and lack of curiosity
- Judge a former garda noted for swift, informed decisions
- Anglo trial : Legal advice as an issue in the case
- Project Maple: Anatomy of a deal
- Full coverage of the Anglo trial
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Secrecy of the jury room
Both concerns, it appears, were unfounded. For 47 days,
the jury – who included a sales rep, nurse, bus driver, personal assistant, an unemployed man, hospital procurement professional and trade union employee – listened attentively to the evidence. To anyone who was in court for the duration of the trial, they came across as serious, conscientious people.
No one knows what went on in the jury room during deliberations but the verdicts show that the jurors had absorbed key nuances and had more than enough knowledge to decide it.
Of the three men on trial, Seán FitzPatrick was at the farthest remove from the scheme at the heart of this case: the transaction to unwind Seán Quinn’s stake in Anglo in July 2008.
The only evidence as to his knowledge of it came from five interviews he gave to gardaí in 2010. Specifically, the only evidence that he knew about the deal before it was carried out came from his own account of receiving a phone call from David Drumm, Anglo’s chief executive, on July 9th, 2008 – five days before Morgan Stanley put the plan into action. According to FitzPatrick’s statements, Drumm told him a plan had been devised to unwind the Quinn stake. It involved 10 people who would each buy a tranche of the bank’s shares. There would be some lending from Anglo for this.
FitzPatrick said Drumm told him the regulator would be “very happy” with the deal; overall, the chairman thought it was “kosher” and “above board”. FitzPatrick also told gardaí he asked Drumm if the investors were “people of substance”, whether they were good for it, and was told they were. According to FitzPatrick’s statement, he was not told the names – subsequently known as the Maple 10 – whose identities Drumm was keeping tight. Nor was he told of the terms of the lending.