Sunday 11 December 2016

Ex-Anglo top brass to be called in trial of FitzPatrick

Published 22/09/2016 | 02:30

Sean FitzPatrick leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice in May of last year. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Sean FitzPatrick leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice in May of last year. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A host of high-profile former senior banking executives and board members are to be called as witnesses in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick on charges of misleading auditors.

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Among the 75 witnesses to be called are former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes and Nama chairman Frank Daly, who both served as public interest directors.

Nama chief Frank Daly is among the 75 witnesses to be called during the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick. Picture: Tom Burke
Nama chief Frank Daly is among the 75 witnesses to be called during the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick. Picture: Tom Burke

The witness list was disclosed yesterday as Mr FitzPatrick (68) pleaded not guilty to 27 charges at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Also set to be called are former Anglo board members Fintan Drury, Ned Sullivan, Lar Bradshaw, Anne Heraty, Noel Harwerth and Gary McGann.

Ex-Anglo chief finance officer Matt Moran; former chief operations officer at Anglo, Tiarnan O'Mahoney; and the former secretary of Irish Nationwide, Stan Purcell, are also among those scheduled to give evidence at the trial.

A specially enlarged jury of seven men and eight women was sworn for the case, which is expected to last three months.

Wearing a navy suit, light blue shirt and wine tie, Mr FitzPatrick, of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, spoke only to say "Not guilty" after each charge was read.

The prosecution, led by Dominic McGinn SC, alleges the former Anglo chairman made arrangements to temporarily reduce the balance of his loans from the bank when end of financial year audits were being carried out by Ernst & Young between 2002 and 2007.

Mr FitzPatrick is being defended by Bernard Condon SC, instructed by solicitor Michael Staines.

Almost 100 potential jurors came before the court for jury selection but around 70 of these were excused for one reason or other.

These included a person who had a connection to Ernst & Young and an AIB employee.

One potential juror knew a witness, while another woman said she was "decidedly not neutral in the case of bankers" and was excused by the judge.

The jurors were asked by Judge Aylmer to return to the court on Monday, but he said they would not be needed after that point for a period of two weeks as there was an issue which required legal argument in their absence.

He told them that they had taken an oath to only give a verdict in accordance with the evidence put before them.

The judge said it was "of obvious importance" that jurors did not seek out any information outside of what they heard in court and this included avoiding social media.

Earlier, potential jurors were told they should disqualify themselves if they had strong feelings in relation to Anglo or the banking crisis which would impact on their impartiality.

Also excluded were anti- austerity protesters.

Irish Independent

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