Two former Anglo executives charged with fraud offences
Published 23/07/2012 | 12:20
ONE of the top bankers in the former rogue lender Anglo Irish Bank has been charged with a string of fraud offences.
Willie McAteer, pictured, has become the first banker prosecuted over white-collar crime linked to the collapse of the toxic bank.
The 61-year-old former finance director from Rathgar, south Dublin, appeared before Dublin District Court charged with 16 fraud offences.
The court was told he made no reply when the charges were put to him this morning in the Bridewell garda station in Dublin city centre.
McAteer was granted bail until October 8 by Judge Cormac Dunne with conditions including a €1,000 bond of his own and a €10,000 cash surety from wife Maria, who was also in court.
The former banker was ordered to hand in his passport.
Anglo, the favoured bank of property speculators and developers, was nationalised in 2009 after a massive share price collapse.
Its rescue has cost the Irish taxpayer about €30bn.
McAteer - who looked nervous in court, dressed in a dark grey suit and casual striped shirt - was arrested this morning on the N7 road at Rathcoole on the outskirts of Dublin.
He was charged in relation to a failed attempt to prop up Anglo's share price after a stock market collapse.
Money was given out by the bank to a select group, nicknamed the Maple 10, for the purchase of shares in the bank as its value plummeted in 2008.
The charge is that he gave unlawful financial assistance in connection with the purchase of Anglo shares to 16 people in July 2008.
They include six members of the Quinn family, some of whom are embroiled in increasingly bitter lawsuits with the rebranded Anglo, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) as it chases debts of €2.8bn run up by former billionaire, bankrupt Sean Quinn senior.
His son Sean junior, imprisoned on Friday for contempt of court after trying to hide €500m of property assets from the bank, was one of the 16.
The others included Sean senior's wife Patricia, and his children Colette Marie, Aoife, Ciara and Brendan.
The other investors were Anglo customers and big players in the world of property and development.
They were Belfast-born developer Paddy McKillen, Mennolly Homes's Seamus Ross, auctioneer Brian O'Farrell, John McCabe of McCabe Builders, developer Gerry Maguire, Belfast's Patrick Kearney, Gerry Gannon of Gannon Homes who had a stake in the K Club Ryder Cup golf resort, Kildare businessman Jerry Conlan, Sean Reilly of the McGarrell Reilly firm and developer Joe O'Reilly.
McAteer's charges were brought under section 60 of the Companies Act.
Sean Quinn senior, who was spared jail despite being found in contempt over the asset-stripping of his property portfolio, has claimed his family have been made scapegoats and treated "like dogs".
The rags-to-riches tycoon has claimed that the "real perpetrators" continue to walk free.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter urged people to allow for due process.
"It is important that due process now takes place and that nothing is said which could in any way prejudice the outcome of the criminal prosecutions that have been initiated," he said.
The court approved the surety from McAteer's wife and afterwards she kissed him on the cheek in the hallway outside the court.
The couple and their son left the court complex escorted and shielded by members of the fraud squad before being bundled into a taxi.
The court was told a further bail condition had been imposed where he must give 48 hours notice if leaving his address.
A second former senior figure at Anglo, Pat Whelan, was also charged over fraud at the rogue lender.
A former head of lending and operations at the bank, he was arrested at his home on the Coast Road in Malahide, north Dublin just before lunchtime.
The court was told he is facing the same charges as his former colleague McAteer.
He made no reply to the charges, Judge Dunne was told.
The maximum penalty if found guilty is up to five years in jail per offence and a maximum fine of €3,100 per offence.
Whelan was granted bailed on condition he hands in a €1,000 bond of his own with an independent surety of €10,000.
Whelan has been ordered to reside at his current address and to give 48 hours notice if he is travelling anywhere outside the UK as he is back and forth to London on business.
He was also told to sign on at Malahide Garda Station every Sunday as he awaits a date for trial.
The case will be back before the courts on October 8.
The tanned looking 50-year-old wore a smart grey and navy suit with an open neck blue shirt for the short hearing.