Ex-Anglo directors did not know FitzPatrick loans moved at year end, court hears

Fintan Drury says he did not know of ex-chairman’s extensive loans with the bank until December 2008

Sean FitzPatrick, of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act.   Photograph: Collins Courts

Sean FitzPatrick, of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

Two former directors of Anglo Irish Bank have said they did not know that loans associated with the former chairman of the bank, Sean FitzPatrick, were being moved to Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) at each year’s end, the Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

However former staff members of the bank said it was no secret at the time that Mr FitzPatrick’s loans were temporarily moved to the building society as the bank’s year end approached, before being moved back to the bank some weeks’ later.

Former non-executive director, Fintan Drury, who was on the bank’s board from 2002 to 2008, told John Byrne BL, for the prosecution, that it was not until December 2008 that he first learned about the loans being moved to INBS. He was told by Mr FitzPatrick. He had not known until then of Mr FitzPatrick’s extensive loans with the bank.

Mr FitzPatrick, of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act. These include 22 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and five charges of furnishing false information in the years 2002-2007.

The prosecution alleges the amount of the loans was “artificially reduced” for a period of two weeks around the bank’s financial end-of-year statement by short-term loans from INBS.

Former Anglo executive director, John Rowan, said that during his time with the bank he had no knowledge of Mr FitzPatrick’s practice of moving loans to INBS. Mr Rowan was a director from 1998 to 2005.

Mary McCarthy said she worked on as an assistant manager on matters relating to the transfer of Mr FitzPatrick’s loans to INBS in 2004, and the return of the loans to the bank shortly after year’s end.

She agreed with Bernard Condon SC, for Mr FitzPatrick, that she had told the Garda subsequently that no-one had thought there was anything wrong about what was happening with Mr FitzPatrick’s loans.

“It was all out in the open. No-one was told to keep quiet about it or be secretive about it in any way,” she told the Garda.

Ronan O’Byrne, who worked as an assistant manager in the lending department of Anglo in Dublin from 2000 to 2006, said there was no secret about Mr FitzPatrick’s loans and that people from a number of the bank’s departments knew about them. People involved with the loans spoke about them in “a big open-plan office floor” in Anglo’s then offices on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

The trial before Judge John Aylmer and a jury adjourned and resumes hearing evidence on Wednesday.