Seán FitzPatrick trial delayed due to bereavement

Evidence to begin in trial in January due to death in family of Judge John Aylmer

Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán Fitzpatrick. Photograph: Collins

Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán Fitzpatrick. Photograph: Collins

 

The trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick for allegedly misleading auditors about multimillion-euro loans will begin hearing evidence in the new year, a judge has said.

The trial, which began last September when a jury was empanelled, has so far run for more than 50 days but the vast majority of this time has been taken up by legal argument.

The jury in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court case was due to start hearing evidence on Monday but a bereavement in the family of Judge John Aylmer, the trial judge, means it will not now start until January.

Judge Pauline Codd told the jury to come back on January 11th and thanked them for giving up their valuable time.

Mr FitzPatrick (68), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 21 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and six charges of furnishing false information in the years 2002 to 2007.

€100 million

Last month, Dominic McGinn SC opened the case for the prosecution and told the jury that loans taken out by Mr FitzPatrick, his wife and family members increased from in the region of €10 million in 2002 to around €100 million in 2007.

The State’s case is that the amount of these loans was “artificially reduced” for a period of two weeks around the bank’s financial end of year statement by short-term loans from other sources, including Irish Nationwide Building Society and that these loans were not disclosed to the bank’s auditors Ernst & Young, allegedly contrary to the 1990 Companies Act.

Judge Aylmer previously told the jury, who have so far only heard a summary of the allegations, that the trial would now probably run to the end of February.