McAteer and Whelan sentenced to 240 hours community service

Judge concludes hearing saying: ‘Thank you gentlemen. Enjoy your community service’

William McAteer (left) of Rathgar, Dublin, and Pat Whelan  of Malahide, Dublin, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this morning. Photograph: Collins.

William McAteer (left) of Rathgar, Dublin, and Pat Whelan of Malahide, Dublin, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this morning. Photograph: Collins.

Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 13:02

Two former directors of Anglo Irish Bank have each been sentenced to 240 hours community service for giving illegal loans to developers to buy shares in the bank.

North-Dublin-based Patrick Whelan (53) Anglo’s former director of lending in Ireland, and 63-year-old William McAteer, the bank’s former finance director, have been sentenced to 240 hours of community service to be completed over the course of the next year.

Judge Martin Nolan handed down the sentence and said: “Thank you gentlemen. Enjoy your community service”.

The two men were convicted in April of giving the loans to ten customers of the bank six years ago, but they were found not guilty of illegal lending to members of the Quinn family.

Judge Martin Nolan said in April that he felt it would be unfair to imprison either man as he believed the Financial Regulator “led them into error and illegality”.

He said he believed that the Regulator had effectively given the “green light” to allow the illegal purchase of Anglo shares.

Judge Martin Nolan had adjourned sentencing to assess the men’s suitability for community service. The type of community service the two former bankers could be asked to carry out includes ground clearance, graffiti removal, maintenance, the improvement of parks and other services.

Mr Whelan and Mr McAteer had been convicted of giving illegal loans to a group of developers known as the ‘Maple Ten’ to buy shares in Anglo in July 2008. Anglo their trial had heard feared the entire bank would have collapsed otherwise.

The developers loaned to include well-known names like Paddy McKillen, Gerry Gannon and Joe O’Reilly. Judge Martin Nolan said of the ten men: “They were certainly good men and acting with good motives.”

Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan were the first prosecution of offences under section 60 of the 1963 Companies Act. The loans were part of a larger scheme to try and place a huge interest in the bank built up by businessman Sean Quinn in its shares.

Mr McAteer grew up in Co Donegal and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1975. After becoming a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers, McAteer became managing director of Paul Coulson’s Yeoman International Leasing, a venture capital lending firm. In 1992 he joined Anglo in a senior role. He was finance director of the bank for 15-years when it expanded rapidly.

Mr Whelan grew up in inner-city Dublin, on Marlborough Street. He worked with AIB before joining Anglo in the late 1980s. By 1997 Mr Whelan was an associate director in the bank and was mainly involved in lending before moving in 2002 into group risk. In 2006 he joined the board of Anglo, and the following year was made head of Irish lending.

According to the Prison Service a judge can impose a community service order of between 40 and 240 hours work.

While the judge specifies the duration the type of work is determined by the probation service.

There are eight categories of community service listed on the Prison Service website. These include:

• ground clearance work and general gardening projects;

• graffiti removal; environmental work;

• recycling projects;

• basic building maintenance and landscaping;

• improvements to park and community facilities;

• painting and decorating in community centres etc;

• assisting voluntary and community clubs, facilities and bodies;

• working with individuals or groups in need;

• supporting local initiatives.