Thursday 18 December 2014

Anglo executive wanted to sell his shares in 2007

Published 19/02/2014 | 02:30

Witness Matt Moran at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The former chief financial officer of Anglo Irish Bank sold all his shares in Irish banks in the summer of 2007, except in Anglo.

Matt Moran – who has been granted immunity from prosecution for giving evidence at the trial of three Anglo executives – told jurors that he requested to sell his Anglo shares at the time but was encouraged to keep them and purchase more as a sign of confidence in the lender.

The Circuit Criminal Court heard Mr Moran had acquired Anglo shares on three occasions after he joined in 2002 with borrowings from the bank when share options were opened to him.

"In the summer of 2007 I sold most of my other positions in other banks," he said of his stakes in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks.

"In Anglo I did make a request to sell off shares but I was requested not to do so by David Drumm."

IMMUNITY

He alleged his last acquisition was strongly encouraged by Mr Drumm, the then chief executive, so he could say to shareholders he had purchased recently.

"That would be a sign of confidence in the bank," he added.

Mr Moran said the markets would also have had to be told if he bought or sold any shares at the time as he was a PDFR – Persons Discharging Managerial Responsibility – in Anglo.

As Mr Moran took the stand he agreed with Paul O'Higgins, senior counsel for the prosecution, that he was giving evidence after being granted immunity from prosecution in respect of this trial or any other matters following discussions between his legal representatives and the Director of Public Prosecutions

Mr Moran is a prosecution witness in the trial of Sean FitzPatrick (65) from Greystones in Co Wicklow, 51-year-old Patrick Whelan of Malahide in Dublin and 63-year-old William McAteer of Rathgar in Dublin.

The three have 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.

Mr Whelan has also denied seven charges of being privy to the fraudulent alteration of a loan facility letter.

Mr Moran served as CFO of Anglo when the bank lent sums of money to what became known as the Maple 10 in July 2008.

The trial has heard that the Maple 10 was a group of high net worth individuals – some of Anglo's "well regarded" customers – to whom €45m was lent to each as part of a plan to unwind Sean Quinn's stake which he built up through contracts for difference (CFD).

Mr Moran told the court that during 2007 there was a lot of noise in the market about Mr Quinn having a potential holding or interest in the bank.

He told the court he was asked by Mr Drumm – who is in the US and not on trial – to make contact with international financial advisers Morgan Stanley to ask for support on how to deal with the CFD issue.

Mr Moran said he and Mr McAteer met senior officials from Morgan Stanley in London, who suggested travelling to the Middle East for investment from Sovereign funds, which they did in March 2008.

The former CFO told the court that that plan failed, along with multiple other proposals.

The former executive said his boss, Mr McAteer, told him on July 8 that the bank's executives had decided to approach 10 clients of the bank to see would they take the position of Mr Quinn.

He alleged that the next day Mr Drumm told him he had spoken to the financial regulator who had given his approval.

"He gestured me the thumbs up," Mr Moran added.

The trial continues.

Sarah Stack and Dearbhail McDonald

Irish Independent

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