Legal advice to Anglo on loans not relevant, judge tells jury in trial of three directors

Jury told not to speculate about legal advice

 Anne Heraty: said she was not told the names of individuals buying shares.  Photograph: Collins Courts

Anne Heraty: said she was not told the names of individuals buying shares. Photograph: Collins Courts

Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 22:04

The issue of whether legal advice was obtained by Anglo Irish Bank regarding loans to the Maple 10 and the Quinn family is irrelevant, according to the judge in the trial of three former directors of the bank.

Judge Martin Nolan told the jurors at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court they should not speculate about what steps were taken or what the legal advice must have been in relation to the loans, given by the bank to 10 businessmen and to members of the Quinn family to buy bank shares.

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

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

Loans to buy shares
Finishing her evidence yesterday, Anne Heraty, a former non-executive director of Anglo, said she could not recall if Seán FitzPatrick told her the Maple 10 would be given loans to buy shares in July 2008.

She said he 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 if they were customers of the bank, although she thought some would be.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Mr FitzPatrick, said his client’s position was that he did tell Ms Heraty that the Maple 10 would be given loans by the bank and that all 10 were Anglo customers. “I just can’t clearly recall,” she said.

Ms Heraty agreed that when making her statement, she said the bank’s chief executive David Drumm had told her “if it went wrong”, the Maple 10 deal would “hurt the individuals” but would not “send them under”.

She also told Mr O’Higgins that there were no “cliques” on the board of Anglo and Mr FitzPatrick was an open and good communicator who was “always up front” with her.

Re-examined by Paul Anthony McDermott, prosecuting, Ms Heraty said she was not “100 per cent clear” on whether she knew the Maple 10 were buying shares with the bank’s own money.

She also said she was not aware the recourse on their loans was 25 per cent, meaning that if the loan was defaulted on, the bank could pursue the borrowers for up to a quarter of the value of the money outstanding.

Asked if she had been worried about the money lent to the Quinns by the bank, she said she was not, as long as the regulator approved it.

The case continues.