Friday 31 October 2014

Anglo 'broke company law when it lent money', court told

Dearbhail McDonald and Donal O'Donovan

Published 05/02/2014 | 15:00

Willie McAteer Pic Frank Mc Grath
Willie McAteer Pic Frank Mc Grath
Patrick Whelan
Patrick Whelan
Sean Fitzpatrick
Pic Frank Mc Grath
Sean Fitzpatrick

THE prosecution in the trial of three former Anglo executives says that the bank broke company law when it lent money, in July 2008, to 16 borrowers to buy its own shares.

Senior Counsel Paul O'Higgins, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, is opening the case against former Anglo directors Sean FitzPatrick, William McAteer and Pat Whelan.

Mr O'Higgins has told a 15 strong jury at Dublin's  Circuit Criminal Court that it is the prosecution's case that the lending had "nothing whatsoever to do" with lending in Anglo's ordinary course of business, describing the alleged provision of financial assistance as "lending in very extraordinary circumstances".

Sean FitzPatrick (65) of Whitshed Road,  Wicklow, William McAteer (63) of Auburn Villas Rathgar, Dublin and Pat Whelan (51) of Coast Road, Malahide, Dublin, have each pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of unlawfully providing financial assistance to individuals for the purpose of buying shares in Anglo Irish Bank in 2008.

Each of the 16 charges the men face relates to a specific individual who, it is alleged, received financial assistance on dates between July 10th and 17th, 2008 and, in the case of one of the borrowers, between July 10th and July 30th, 2008.

 Mr Whelan is facing an additional seven charges of being privy to fraudulently altered loan facility letters sent to seven of the borrowers relating to the purchase of shares in Anglo.

These alleged offences occurred in October 2008.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Fifteen jurors, seven men and eight women, have been sworn in to hear the trial which could last until the end of May.

More than 100 potential witnesses may be called to testify for the prosecution during the trial.

These include businessman Sean Quinn Snr, his wife Patricia Quinn, their five adult children and Pat Neary, the former financial regulator.

Potential witnesses also include gardai, property investors, developers, borrowers mentioned in the specific charges as well as ex Anglo employees and bankers living outside of the jurisdiction.

The 16 people named in the charges as having received financial assistance are Patricia Quinn; Sean Quinn Junior; Collete Marie Quinn; Aoife Quinn; Brenda Quinn; Ciara Quinn; Paddy McKillen; Séamus Ross; Brian O’Farrell; John McCabe; Gerard Maguire; Patrick Kearney; Gerard Conlon; Gerard Gannon; Seán Reilly and Joseph O’Reilly.

The charges relating to Patricia Quinn are alleged to have occurred between July 10th and July 30th, 2008.

Irish Independent

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