Sean FitzPatrick’s wife claiming about €6m in assets

Catriona FitzPatrick tells High Court the couple did not lead an extravagant lifestyle

Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean FitzPatrick was previously declared bankrupt with assets of some €47m and debts of €147m.

Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean FitzPatrick was previously declared bankrupt with assets of some €47m and debts of €147m.

 

Catriona FitzPatrick, the wife of Sean FitzPatrick, the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, is claiming around €6 million in assets, some of which were jointly held by the couple before her husband was declared bankrupt in 2010, the High Court heard.

Ms FitzPatrick was giving evidence on the second day of the hearing of three actions relating to whether she has any interest in assets which were the subject of the bankruptcy.

Mr FitzPatrick was declared bankrupt with assets of some €47 million and debts of €147 million, and has since exited bankruptcy.

Ms Fitzpatick has brought proceedings against, Chris Lehane official assignee (OA) in bankruptcy and her husband (as the bankrupt) claiming she has an entitlement to various assets which the court heard include property, shares and bonds.

The OA, in the estate of Mr FitzPatrick, has brought his own proceedings against Ms FitzPatrick and the couple’s three children, David, Jonathan and Sara FitzPatrick.

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which took over Anglo, has brought separate related proceedings against Ms FitzPatrick, in which it denies she is entitled to claim monies loaned to fund asset investments or that the loans were given on a non-recourse basis to her.

The court heard that when the couple refinanced their loans in 2009, she was aware the amount owed by them in loans for their investments was around €80 million. Ms FitzPatrick said repeatedly she was not aware of the detail of all those and left the figures and paperwork entirely to her husband.

Ms FitzPatrick, who worked as a secretary before she married Mr FitzPatrick in 1974, told her counsel Gerard Durcan, said most of the investments came after Mr FitzPatrick became non-executive chairman of Anglo in 2005.

She said she and Mr FitzPatrick jointly held shares in Anglo which got more valuable as Anglo got bigger.

They had joint deposit and borrowing account which she just had a general knowledge of but repeatedly said she did know the detail of what assets they related to.

‘Middle of dinner’

When Mr FitzPatrick asked her to sign documents she just did it, “sometimes in the middle of dinner”. She agreed theirs was a traditional marriage and unlike the way young people do things today.

In their early days, including before they were married and when Mr FitzPatrick was studying to be a chartered accountant, they had very little money, and were “dong our best as every young couple does”.

Things improved later and Mr FitzPatrick bought her “a lovely ring for our 20th wedding anniversary”. He was a good provider and she never worried about money, she said.

She had good knowledge investments of their main property, including their home in Greystones, Co Wicklow, a townhouse and an apartment in Malaga, Spain, for holidays, and a site at the back of their home.

When it came to other investments she left the details to Mr FitzPatrick who would have different investments, including short-term investments which he did not hold on to very long because he would get a good interest rate, she said.

She also knew Mr FitzPatrick had a very good pension and when he retired from Anglo they were very comfortably off.

They did not lead an extravagant lifestyle. “Money was not my common denominator. We wanted it for security but I did not lead an extravagant lifestyle at all”.

She said the apartment in Spain was “not greatly luxurious”, was “nice” but “just your general holiday apartment”.

“We were not going to be living there. I never wanted a villa or anything like that. An apartment was fine.”

She said they later bought the Malaga townhouse so that their three children, who are aged between 33 and 41, could have somewhere to stay.

She just had a general idea of her husband’s investments because “he was involved in finance and knew what he was doing”. Everything he did was the sake of the family, she said.

Cross examined by Paul Gallagher SC, for the OA, Ms FitzPatrick initially couldn’t remember exactly how much she was claiming in her case but then said “about six million, sorry”.

Mr Gallagher said one of the bases for her claim to entitlement in her husband’s assets was that she had provided €320,000 in interest payments in relation to those investments.

Asked did she know which of the 18 assets which are the subject of this claim were referable to those interest payments, she said she had no idea.

She said Mr FitzPatrick provided all the figures and paperwork which were prepared for this case.

Ms FitzPatrick told Mr Gallagher she had no idea about how many of the loans related to assets over which she claims she has a €6 million interest remain unpaid.

The case continues before Ms Justice Marie Baker.