Detention of former Anglo chair FitzPatrick extended

 

Gardaí are continuing to question former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán FitzPatrick in relation to alleged financial irregularities at the bank after obtaining an extension to his detention this evening.

It is the first arrest as part of the Garda’s year-long inquiry into Anglo.

Mr FitzPatrick was arrested at 6.30am today at his home in Greystones, Co Wicklow.

The Irish Times understands members of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation were granted a search warrant earlier this week and searched Mr FitzPatrick’s home on Tuesday.

Mr FitzPatrick was taken to Bray Garda station after his arrest this morning where he is being questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. Gardaí secured a 12-hour extension to his detention period at 6.30pm this evening.

In a statement this morning, the Garda Press Office said a man in his early 60s was detained early this morning following a search of a premises by officers from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation as part of the ongoing investigation "into alleged financial irregularities at a financial institution".

Mr Fitzpatrick resigned as chairman of the bank in December 2008.

On February 25th, 2009, the Financial Regulator formally asked the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation to join the criminal investigation into the bank. One of the issues under investigation is the hidden loans of up to €122 million from Anglo to Mr FitzPatrick.

Gardaí are also assisting with a separate investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement into possible breaches of company law.

The regulator referred two issues to the Garda – deposit transfers of €7.45 billion into Anglo by Irish Life Permanent to flatter its balance sheet and secret loans of €451 million to 10 Anglo customers to buy shares in the bank held indirectly by businessman Seán Quinn which had the effect of propping up its share price.

Anybody convicted in relation to any market abuse offences faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to €10 million.

A number of Garda raids have been carried out at Anglo premises. A large quantity of computers and documents have been seized and are being examined as part of the investigation.

In a brief statement today, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said he was "eager to see justice take its course”.

"I have always stated that there is an extensive Garda investigation underway," Mr Lenihan said, without naming Mr FitzPatrick. "I have been cautious not to prejudice that investigation and am eager to see justice take its course."