FitzPatrick only briefly quizzed on €87m Anglo loan
Published 23/03/2010 | 05:00
Garda interviews with Sean FitzPatrick barely touched upon the controversial €87m loans the former banker hid from shareholders over an eight-year period, the Irish Independent has learned.
Instead, the questioning concerned the €7.2bn of deposits which flowed between Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) in September 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.
Anglo was accused of using this money to flatter its results at a time when the market was losing faith in the bank.
It is understood that Mr FitzPatrick was questioned for over 30 hours and the subject of controversial loans did not arise, despite extensive media coverage suggesting this was the core of the garda investigation.
The subject of a so-called "golden circle" of investors buying excess shares in Anglo Irish using loans from the bank also barely surfaced during the lengthy session.
Mr Fitzpatrick has now got protection from his creditors for a period of time after an in-camera court hearing last week. It is believed he owes the bank about €70m, but it is not clear whether Anglo has agreed to this arrangement. The bank declined to comment yesterday, as did Mr FitzPatrick.
It is understood that David Drumm, who was chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank from 2005 to late 2008, may face questions about the transactions between his bank and IL&P at some point in the future.
Staff from the Financial Regulator are also likely to be questioned about what happened in late September 2008 between the two institutions. Anglo Irish Bank itself sought legal advice last year on the transactions.
IL&P has long claimed that in May 2008 the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator said Irish banks should work to support each other in "the face of an unprecedented threat to the stability of the Irish financial system".
However, IL&P's board also expressed "its strong disapproval of and disappointment" with some of the specific measures used to support Anglo Irish Bank during 2008. This led to the resignations of several IL&P executives, although chairwoman Gillian Bowler remained in place.