FitzPatrick denies fleeing garda probe
DISGRACED banker Sean FitzPatrick last night denied he had fled abroad to escape a garda investigation and public ire over the multi-billion euro bank bailout.
Mr FitzPatrick (61) told the Irish Independent suggestions that he had left the country for good were "ridiculous".
The former Anglo Irish Bank chairman made the comments as the now-nationalised institution announced the largest losses in corporate history -- €12.7bn for the 15 months up to the end of last year.
He was reported to have flown to Spain on Tuesday, just as Finance Minister Brian Lenihan revealed that the bailout of the country's banks would cost at least €40bn.
Speaking by mobile phone, Mr FitzPatrick confirmed he was abroad, but refused to say where he was.
He has previously been seen frequenting an upmarket district of Marbella in Spain.
Mr FitzPatrick added there was no truth to rumours that he intended to have a long-term stay outside of the country. "That's just ridiculous," he said.
Mr FitzPatrick refused to comment on his arrest by gardai or his own financial future.
The former banker left Ireland despite the fact that he faces the prospect of being re-arrested as part of a garda probe into affairs at the bank.
Mr FitzPatrick was questioned for more than 24 hours last month by officers from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation. The questioning focused on the €7.45bn of deposits which were moved between Irish Life and Permanent and Anglo in September 2008.
Gardai released him without charge and said a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Just days before his arrest, Anglo began legal proceedings against him in a bid to recover €70m in loans from the bank.
Mr FitzPatrick has since sought court protection against creditors. Under the 1988 Bankruptcy Act, he petitioned the High Court for shelter from institutions to which he owes large amounts of money.
Further arrests are expected in the coming weeks. Among those who gardai wish to speak to is former Anglo chief executive David Drumm, who is now living in the US.
Gardai have been investigating a number of issues at the bank for more than a year.
These include the movement of €7.45bn in deposits to bolster Anglo's books; the concealment from shareholders of loans, at one stage totalling €129m, to Mr FitzPatrick for eight years; and the loan of €450m to a "golden circle" of 10 investors.