Courts

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Anglo trial: Regulator ‘comfortable with plan’

Sarah Stack

Published 06/03/2014|12:39

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Former billionaire Sean Quinn
Former billionaire Sean Quinn

THE Financial Regulator was comfortable with a plan by Anglo Irish Bank to unwind Sean Quinn’s secret stake in the bank through a loan-for-shares deal, a court heard.

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The trial of three Anglo executives heard the rationale behind the transaction was because the regulator’s office was concerned about Mr Quinn’s indirect 29pc holding built up through contracts for difference (cfd).

Joel Carter, a senior executive from Morgan Stanley, the international investment fund which carried out the deal, said he took part in a conference call with Con Horan – second in command at the Financial Regulator – the weekend before the transactions were executed.

“The impression that was left was that he was comfortable with the transaction,” said Mr Carter told Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court via video link from London.

“It met my concerns that they were satisfied the way the cfds were going to be unwound”

He added that the word comfortable meant knowing the risks involved, as well as the rewards.

Former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick (65), from Greystones, Co Wicklow; former head of risk William McAteer (63), of Rathgar in Dublin; and Patrick Whelan (51), of Malahide,

Co Dublin, 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, Anglo's former head of lending in Ireland, also denies seven charges of being privy to the fraudulent alteration of a loan facility letter.

The men are accused of unlawfully lending €650m to six members of Sean Quinn’s family and ten high worth customers - who became known as the Maple 10 - to unwind Mr Quinn’s secret 29pc stake in the bank build up indirectly through contracts for difference.

Yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan told the 15 member jury that the issue of whether legal advice was given or taken for the transaction is not relevant to the issues to be decided by them.

"These issues are simply not relevant to the guilt or innocence of the accused on the charges before you," said Judge Nolan.

The trial continues.

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