Two charged over unlawful assistance

Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 01:00

ANGLO IRISH BANK CHARGESTWO FORMER Anglo Irish Bank executives are to stand trial accused of unlawfully giving financial assistance to investors to buy shares in the financial institution in 2008.

The former managing director of the bank’s Irish lending business Patrick Whelan, and former finance director Willie McAteer appeared at a sitting of Dublin District Court yesterday charged with 16 counts contrary to section 60 of the Companies Act.

Both men were arrested yesterday by detectives from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and neither man indicated how he will plead.

The charges allege that in 2008 both men permitted the bank to “give unlawful financial assistance” to 16 named individuals for the purpose of or in connection with a purchase by the same people of shares in the then Anglo Irish Bank Corporation.

The charges allege that the unlawful financial help was given between July 10th and 17th, 2008, to 15 people.

These people were named in the charges as Seán Quinn jnr, Colette Marie Quinn, Aoife Quinn, Ciara Quinn, Brenda Quinn, Patrick McKillen, Séamus Ross, Brian O’Farrell, John McCabe, Gerard Maguire, Patrick Kearney, Gerard Gannon, Gerard Conlon, Seán Reilly and Joseph O’Reilly.

It is also claimed that between July 17th and July 30th, 2008, alleged unlawful help was provided to Patricia Quinn.

State solicitor Jane Farrell told the judge the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed trial on indictment in relation to all charges. This means they are to stand trial before a judge and jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, but first they have to be served with books of evidence.

After setting bail terms, both men’s wives stood bail in the sum of €10,000 in each case.

Judge Cormac Dunne ordered the men to appear again on October 8th next when they are to be served with books of evidence and returned for trial.

Mr McAteer (61), of Auburn Villas, Rathgar, Dublin, was arrested at 9.50am yesterday on the N7 at Rathcoole, Co Dublin, Det Sgt Catharina Gunne of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation told Judge Dunne.

His was the first case called at about 12.30pm. Before his court appearance he had been taken to the Bridewell Garda station where he was charged with 16 offences. “He made no reply to each charge after caution and he was handed a copy of each charge,” said Det Sgt Gunne.

She had no objection to bail but asked for a €1,000 bond and an €10,000 independent surety and for an order for Mr McAteer to “surrender his passport for the duration of any proceedings”.

She told the court she wanted him to give gardaí 48 hours’ notice if he intended to change address.

Det Sgt Gunne requested that he would also be ordered to sign on once a week at Rathmines Garda station. This was refused by Judge Dunne, who agreed to the remaining bail terms.

Mr McAteer’s passport was handed over and his wife Maria McAteer stood bail.

He remained in custody until the paperwork was completed. At 2.20pm he was brought out again, took up bail and left the court.

Just over 10 minutes later former managing director of Anglo’s Irish lending business Patrick Whelan (50), of Rachra, Coast Road, Malahide, Co Dublin was brought into the court.

Judge Dunne was told that he faced similar charges to Mr McAteer.

Det Sgt Michael Prendergast, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, said he arrested Mr Whelan at his home at 12.25pm yesterday. “He made no reply to the charges after caution,” the court heard.

Det Sgt Prendergast asked for a €1,000 bond and a €10,000 independent surety. He asked the court to order him to sign on at a Garda station, to reside at his home and to give gardaí 48 hours’ notice of plans to leave the State.

“We are not looking for a surrender of passport,” he said.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines explained that Mr Whelan was “over and back” to London throughout the week. He asked for an exception to be made in giving notice of his travel plans when he is going to the UK and for him to be allowed to sign on every Sunday at Malahide Garda station.

Judge Dunne agreed to the conditions and specified that Mr Whelan must give 48 hours’ notice to gardaí of plans to travel to any country except England.

Twenty-five minutes later, after Mr Whelan’s wife Sharon was approved to stand bail and co-signed his bond, he was brought back into the courtroom.

Mr Whelan was then released. Both men will appear in court again on October 8th.