Business Irish

Monday 25 September 2017

My day will come: FitzPatrick

Disgraced banker relying on investigations to clear his name

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

DISGRACED banker Sean FitzPatrick has claimed he will be able to refute allegations made against him once investigations into his activities at Anglo Irish Bank are completed.

In his first public comments since being questioned by gardai probing irregularities at scandal-hit Anglo, Mr FitzPatrick predicted he would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

"My day will come and I will be able to speak openly and refute things," he told the Irish Independent.

His comments came as Finance Minister Brian Lenihan considers two major reports into the banking crisis and Taoiseach Brian Cowen indicated Anglo may have to be spilt into "good" and "bad" banks, with the bad bank to be run down over time.

Mr FitzPatrick spoke out after he was photographed in Dublin on Tuesday night leaving a building that houses AIB's investment management arm and a number of other businesses. Sources said he was not meeting with any representatives from the bank.

Mr FitzPatrick (61), who is at the centre of investigations by the garda fraud squad and the Director of Corporate Enforcement, also hit out at media coverage of his role in the banking scandal.

He complained he was being "harassed" by photographers everywhere he went.

"It is not right. It is not fair," he added. "A lot of things which have been printed about me have been wrong. But I will have my day."

However, he declined to elaborate any further on his claims.

The former Anglo boss was arrested at his home in Greystones, Co Wicklow, in March by detectives as part of an investigation in irregularities at Anglo, where he served as both chief executive and chairman.

Officers questioned him for 24 hours under legislation relating to false accounting before releasing him without charge.

After his release, gardai said their investigation was continuing.

Loans

The investigation has been focusing on the movement of €7.45bn in deposits between Anglo and Irish Life & Permanent to bolster Anglo's books, as well as the controversial loan of €450m to a "golden circle" of 10 prominent customers so they could buy shares in the bank.

Loans made by the bank to its directors over a number of years are also being scrutinised. Mr FitzPatrick resigned in December 2008 after it emerged he had hidden up to €87m in loans from banks auditors over an eight-year period.

The garda inquiry is being carried out in co-operation with the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby.

Mr Appleby said last week that a file could be with the Director of Public Prosecutions in the coming months.

Mr FitzPatrick is also set to come under scrutiny from the Comptroller and Auditor General and Public Accounts Committee for his role in the controversial October 2006 Irish Glass Bottle deal, which has financially crippled the Dublin Dockland Development Authority (DDDA).

However, neither body has the power to compel him to answer questions on the issue.

Mr FitzPatrick sat on the authority's board at the same time he was a director of Anglo.

Despite the potential conflict of interest, he was directly involved in the decision by the DDDA to join a consortium which purchased the 25-acre site for €426m, even though the deal was to be part-financed through borrowing from Anglo.

The price paid was almost double the value that the authority had put on the land.

Mr FitzPatrick is also facing a battle to keep his creditors at bay, with a case related to his personal debts due before the High Court later this month.

Irish Independent

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