Former Anglo Irish chief Seán FitzPatrick charged


Former chairman and chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank Seán FitzPatrick has appeared in court today in connection with alleged financial irregularities at the bank.

The court heard Mr FitzPatrick was arrested by arrangement at Dublin Airport at about 5.35am by gardaí attached to the Office of the Director Corporate Enforcement and taken to the Bridewell Garda station.

He is understood to have been returning to Ireland on a flight from the US at the time of his arrest.

Mr FitzPatrick appeared before Dublin District Court this morning where he faced 16 charges of providing unlawful financial assistance in July 2008.

The charges relate to loans provided by Anglo to a group of investors – 10 customers known as the “Maple 10” and to the five children of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn and his wife Patricia to buy shares in the bank. Anglo made the loans to prop up its share price and, in turn, public confidence in the bank.

Det Sgt Brian Mahon told the court Mr FitzPatrick (64), of Camaderry, Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, was charged at 8.08am at the Bridewell.  The court heard he replied “no comment” to each charge.

Michael Staines, for Mr FitzPatrick, told the court that once his client learned gardaí were seeking him, he contacted his solicitor and organised to meet them this morning.

Mr FitzPatrick did not speak during the eight minute hearing. He sat with his arms folded wearing a navy jacket, blue shirt, pink tie and cream chino trousers.

There was no objection to bail. Judge Cormac Dunne granted bail of €1,000 and an independent surety of €10,000, which was provided by Mr FitzPatrick's sister, Joyce O'Connor.

Mr FitzPatrick was ordered to sign on every Wednesday at Irishtown Garda station and to give gardaí 48 hours' notice if he plans to leave the State or change address.

He is due in court again on October 8th, when he will be served with a book of evidence.

The 16 charges relate to loans advanced to the 10 businessmen and five Quinn children – Seán jnr, Colette Marie, Aoife, Brenda and Ciara – between July 10th and 17th, 2008, and to Patricia Quinn between July 17th and 30th, 2008.

The 10 businessmen are Paddy McKillen, Séamus Ross, Brian O’Farrell, John McCabe, Gerard Maguire, Patrick Kearney, Gerard Conlon, Gerard Gannon, Seán Reilly and Joseph O’Reilly, according to filings to the court.

If convicted, he could face up to five years in jail for each charge.

Mr FitzPatrick’s arrest follows the appearance in court yesterday of two other former high-ranking executives at the bank.

Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan were each charged with the same offences as Mr FitzPatrick.

Mr McAteer, Anglo’s former finance director and second highest-ranking executive after chief executive David Drumm, was arrested on the N7 at Rathcoole on the outskirts of Dublin at 9.50am and brought to the Bridewell Garda station in Dublin city centre.

Mr Whelan, a former Anglo board member and managing director of Anglo’s Irish business, was arrested at his home in Malahide, Co Dublin at 12.25pm and brought to the Bridewell Garda station.

They appeared at separate sittings of Dublin District Court and briefly shared a courthouse cell.

Detectives from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation told Judge Cormac Dunne that the former bankers gave no response when the 16 charges were read out to them.

Mr McAteer (61), of Auburn Villas, Rathgar, Dublin, was released on bail of €1,000 and an independent surety of €10,000.

He handed in his passport and must give 48 hours’ notice if he plans to change address.

Mr Whelan (50), of “Rachra”, Coast Road, Malahide, was also remanded on bail on his own €1,000 bond and €10,000 surety.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines said gardaí had accepted he was not a “flight risk” and were not looking for his passport. He agreed to sign on once a week at his local Garda station in Malahide.

The court was asked whether he could sign on every Sunday, as he was “over and back” to London where he works during the week. He must give 48 hours’ notice if he travels outside the State, except to the UK.

The two accused will appear in court again on October 8th when books of evidence will be presented and the court moves towards setting a date for a trial before a judge and jury in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Meanwhile, the High Court was told today it is expected to take three years to complete the criminal trials of those charged in relation to the 2008 collapse of the former Anglo Irish Bank.