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Saturday 20 September 2014

Documents to green light ‘Maple 10’ loans never shown to non-executive director, court hears

Sarah Stack and Dearbhail McDonald

Published 13/02/2014 | 12:52

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Whelan (Patrick): Three bankers pleaded not (NOT) guilty to fraud offences, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, 13-2-14 
Pic shows: Former Anglo director Patrick Whelan (51), Rachra, Coast Road, Malahide, Co Dublin, arriving at court yesterday (Thurs.) where he has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to 16 charges of fraud offences. 
Pic: Courtpix
Former Anglo director Patrick Whelan Photo: Courtpix

DOCUMENTS authorising loans for shares to the so-called Maple Ten were never shown to a non-executive director at Anglo Irish Bank, a court heard.

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Former senior bank executive Michael O'Sullivan said ten identical memos and applications were drafted for a credit committee, noting exceptional circumstances were being made by allowing more than 70pc of the loans to buy shares.

He told the trial of three former of the bank's executives that a section for non-exec approval had been marked 'N' for no by the team involved as they were told the board had already approved it.

"The team were following instructions and the instructions were clear that the board had approved and authorised terms and conditions," said the former director of divisional lending at Anglo.

"The team were in no doubt."

It was policy for all loans for more than €25m to be 'noted' by a non-executive director who could raise questions or concerns as a safeguard, the court heard.

The Maple Ten were each granted loans for €60m for 1pc of Anglo shares.

Earlier, the court heard only 5 of the top 25 "loan connections" at Anglo Irish Bank in 2008 were full recourse loans.

Mr O'Sullivan agreed with Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan, representing Pat Whelan- Anglo's former MD of Lending (Ireland) - that limited personal recourse on some loans was not unusual at that time.

Full recourse lending allows a lender to fully pursue a borrower and all their assets in the event of a default.

Mr Grehan told a 15 strong jury at Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court that of the top 25 loan connections, representing some 43 per cent of Anglo's loan book at that time, only 5 were full recourse.

"In the main, Anglo would be very stringent on personal recourse," said Mr O'Sullivan.

"In the main, full recourse would have been more the norm," said the banker.

Mr O'Sullivan is giving evidence  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 men 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.

The trial continues.

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