Former Anglo chairman told gardaí Drumm was “driving” Quinn deal
Seán FitzPatrick believed deal was “kosher”
Former Anglo chairman Seán Fitzpatrick at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday March 27th. Photograph: Collins Courts.
Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán FitzPatrick told gardaí David Drumm was “driving” the deal to unwind businessman Seán Quinn’s holding in the bank, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.
Mr FitzPatrick said yesterday that the bank’s former chief executive Mr Drumm told him the financial regulator would be “very happy” with the deal. He was in the south of France when he was advised of it, he said and thought it “kosher” and “above board”. He is one of three people on trial for offences under the Companies’ Acts.
Mr FitzPatrick told gardaí he asked if the investors were “people of substance” when he heard 10 customers of the bank would purchase 10 per cent of the bank’s shares as part of the deal to unwind the Quinn holding in the bank.
He said he wanted to know if they could afford it or if Mr Drumm was “just taking 10 names” that they could “just put at the bottom of credit” and “they’d never pay it back if things went wrong”.
Not absolving himself
Mr FitzPatrick said he was told no, that they were people of substance.
He also told gardaí, during several interviews in March 2010 read in court, that he was not trying to “detach” himself from the bank to save himself from blame. But he “never had any role in relation to the executive” of the bank.
Mr FitzPatrick also said he believed Mr Drumm had kept the financial regulator “up to speed” with everything that had gone on.
“How could he [Mr Drumm] have been misleading the regulator?” he asked. “If he was going through all of that, it would have been pretty strong stuff to go off and take a chance on that. Why would he want to do that?”
He also told gardaí the only occasion he was asked to help at executive level after he stepped down as chief executive in 2005 and became chairman, was in relation to a meeting with Mr Quinn.
Mr Drumm asked Mr FitzPatrick to attend a meeting with Mr Quinn in late 2007 because Mr Drumm believed the businessman held Mr FitzPatrick in “high regard” and might be encouraged to dispose of his holding.
Gambling on the share price
Mr FitzPatrick told gardaí he believed Mr Quinn was “gambling” on the bank’s share price.
“I was absolutely amazed he was doing this,” he said.
He said he believed Mr Quinn was “shocked” that he, Mr FitzPatrick, was disappointed with him.
“We told him it was a very bad . . . situation and we’d like him to reduce his holdings,” Mr FitzPatrick told gardaí. He said his sense was that Mr Quinn understood the difficulties but was not going to sell his holding, “because he would crystallise a loss” as the share price had fallen by two or three euro.