Regulator told me Anglo was ‘strong’, says Seán Quinn
Businessman tells trial he originally viewed bank as a “marvellous” blue- chip company
Asked if his account of events was “coloured” by his losses, Mr Quinn replied: “Of course they are. If you lost €3.2 billion, of course it would colour your view.” Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
Businessman Seán Quinn has said the Financial Regulator assured him in 2008 that Anglo Irish Bank was “strong and well-capitalised”.
Giving evidence at the trial of three former Anglo directors, Mr Quinn said he lost €3.2 billion through his investments in Anglo, which he had originally viewed as a “marvellous” blue- chip company.
On contracts for difference (CFDs), the investment product with which he bet on its share price, he said his family had spoken about putting “a toe into the water”, but ended up with “the whole head, feet and neck” in. “I was a fool,” he said.
Mr Quinn alleged the bank had known it was in trouble since November 2007, but he was never told. He said when he spoke to the regulator at meetings in spring 2008 he “always asked” about the bank’s viability and “always got assurances” that the bank was “strong and well- capitalised”.
Seán FitzPatrick (65) of Greystones, Co Wicklow, William McAteer (63) of Rathgar, Dublin, and Pat Whelan (51) of Malahide, Co Dublin, have been charged with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank, contrary to section 60 of the Companies Act. Mr Whelan has also been charged with being privy to the fraudulent alteration of loan facility letters to seven individuals. All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr Quinn said that after the unwinding of his CFD holdings, he took legal advice because he was concerned about “some sort of sweetheart deal” having taken place.
Asked by defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC if his account of events was “coloured” by his losses, Mr Quinn replied: “Of course they are. If you lost €3.2 billion, of course it would colour your view.”