'Maple 10 deal was to stabilise country, not just the bank'
THE loan for shares deal offered to Anglo Irish Bank's top 10 customers was to stabilise the Irish banking system and not just the bank, a court has heard.
Declan Quilligan, former CEO of the bank's UK business, said he was told the Financial Regulator and advisers were behind the deal, but he wished with the "benefit of hindsight" everyone had signed up in writing.
He told the trial of three Anglo executives at the Circuit Criminal Court that the Maple 10 plan was executed to stabilise Anglo, the problem Sean Quinn had brought to their door, and to stabilise the banking system.
"I wish with the benefit of hindsight we got everybody to sign off on the transaction to say the reason the we are doing this is for the benefit of the Irish banking system," he said.
Mr Quilligan maintained there was no discomfort about the deal to unwind Mr Quinn's secret stake in the bank until after Anglo was nationalised in January 2009 – six months later – when "it was held out as poor governance".
"At the time we felt like we had acted alone and hadn't consulted and hadn't taken advice and I felt at that time the whole story wasn't being told," he added.
Mr Quilligan was giving evidence yesterday in the trial of Sean FitzPatrick (65), from Greystones, Co Wicklow, 51-year-old Patrick Whelan, of Malahide, Co 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.
Mr Quilligan, a chartered accountant, was an executive director of Anglo at the time of the alleged offences.
He served as CEO of the bank's UK business when the bank lent sums of money to what became known as the Maple 10.
The Maple 10 was a group of high net worth individuals – some of Anglo's "well regarded" customers – to whom the bank lent money as part of a plan to unwind Sean Quinn's stake.
Mr Quilligan said he was "relaxed" about the plan as he had assumed the bank was lending the money to the investors.
The trial continues.