Former Anglo executives Whelan and McAteer avoid jail
‘I feel Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan are not deserving of prison sentences,’ says trial judge
FORMER Anglo Irish Bank executives Pat Whelan and William McAteer have avoided jail for giving illegal loans to the so-called Maple 10.
Judge Martin Nolan said it was unjust to sent the men to prison when a State agency, the Financial Regulator, led them into error and illegality.
"It would be incredibly unjust to impose custodial sentences,” he said.
"I find it incredible that red lights did not go off somewhere in the Regulator's office,” he added.
He ordered probation reports on the men to assess their suitability for probation.
The case will be back before the court on July 31.
Earlier today counsel for the men made their pleas in mitigation. they said their clients acted in the best interests of the bank and with the approval of the Financial Regulator. Counsel also said the men acted in the belief that the bank’s board and compliance department had approved the deal and that legal advice had been taken stating that it was above board.
Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Whelan said his client “didn’t for one moment think he was involving himself in something that was unlawful, something that would find himself before a court on indictment.”
Patrick Gageby SC, for Mr McAteer, said that this was a case in which there were no malign intention on the part of his client, unlike many other white collar crimes which are committed from “a base motive”.
Two weeks ago the pair were convicted of giving 10 counts of illegal loans to the so-called Maple 10 to buy shares in the bank to unwind Sean Quinn's secret stake.
The men were also found not guilty of providing unlawful financial assistance six members of Mr Quinn’s family following a 47 day trial at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin
Their convictions followed the acquittal of former chairman Sean FitzPatrick, who walked free from court after being cleared of 16 similar charges.
The loan-for-shares deal involved unwinding Mr Quinn’s secret 29pc stake in the bank, build up through contracts for difference (cfds).
The former bankers – now convicted criminals – stood side by side in the dock as Judge Nolan imposed the sentence.
He told them they had committed a blatant breach of the Companies Act by lending money to buy shares in the bank, but accepted the regulator had gave “a green light” to Anglo by not taking action or warning the bank.
Their co-accused, former Anglo Chairman Sean FitzPatrick, was found not guilty on all 16 counts. The three men had denied all charges.
Mr Whelan of Malahide, Dublin, Mr McAteer of Rathgar, Dublin and Mr FitzPatrick for Greystones, Co Wicklow denied all charges against them.