FitzPatrick released from custody


Gardaí are to prepare a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions after releasing former Anglo Irish Bank chairman and chief executive Seán FitzPatrickw  without charge yesterday.

Mr FitzPatrick was arrested on Friday morning for questioning about allegations of wrongdoing at the now defunct bank.

Mr FitzPatrick went to Bray Garda station in Co Wicklow yesterday morning by arrangement with gardaí and investigators from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Paul Appleby. When he got to the station he was arrested at about 8am and detained there for questioning throughout Friday. He was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Mr Fitzpatrick emerged from the Garda station at about 2.00pm yesterday and walked through the large media contingent gathered outside without speaking. He was driven from the scene by a young man in a 2001 Volkswagen Golf as gardaí held back press photographers.

The Irish Times
understands he was being questioned as part of investigations into allegations that Anglo Irish Bank had misled auditors in the compilation of end of year financial statements.

The arrest is the latest in a series of detentions in recent years of former Anglo senior executives and was the second time Mr FitzPatrick has been arrested.

Former finance director of Anglo Irish Bank Willie McAteer was also arrested for a second time last month for questioning about alleged financial irregularities at the bank. He was later released without charge.

Three files on the investigations into Anglo, now almost three years old, have been sent to the DPP, with a fourth file in the final stages of preparation. Garda sources said it was anticipated that Mr FitzPatrick would be released without charge from his latest period of detention and that any criminal charges arising against anyone under investigation would be decided in the coming weeks and months by the DPP.

While Mr FitzPatrick’s first arrest in March 2010 resulted in a heavy media presence outside Bray Garda station where he was being held at the time, only a small number of journalists gathered outside the station on Friday and yesterday.

A suspect can only be arrested for a second time in any criminal investigation if new information arises that investigators need to put to the suspect.

Gardaí and the corporate enforcement agency are investigating three issues at Anglo:

* The concealment of loans owing by Mr FitzPatrick which were transferred off the books of Anglo using short-term loans from Irish Nationwide Building Society over an eight-year period;

* The lodgment of €7.45 billion in short-term deposits by Irish Life and Permanent into Anglo over its financial year-end in September 2008;

* The so-called golden circle share transaction in which 10 long-standing clients of Anglo purchased a 10 per cent stake in the bank – using loans from the bank – from businessman Seán Quinn.

Mr Appleby has already said his office’s investigation into practices at Anglo is very close to completion. Mr FitzPatrick resigned as chairman of Anglo in 2008.