Sunday 21 December 2014

Sean FitzPatrick applies for legal costs following trial

CONOR GALLAGHER

Published 26/05/2014 | 12:33

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick is to apply for the State to pay his legal fees from his recent criminal trial.

Mr FitzPatrick was acquitted last March of engaging in an illegal share support scheme. His fellow Anglo directors Pat Whelan and William McAteer were convicted on ten counts of providing illegal loans to the group of investors known as the Maple Ten to prop up the Anglo share price.

This morning counsel for Mr FitzPatrick, Michael O’Higgins SC, asked Judge Martin Nolan to fix a date for a costs application on behalf of his client. Mr FitzPatrick did not attend the short hearing.

Judge Nolan put the matter back to June 5, the last day of the current legal term, when he will hear submissions from Mr FitzPatrick and the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether the State should pay the costs of the former chairman’s defence.

Mr FitzPatrick is seeking to be reimbursed for legal fees arising out of his 48 trial and the extensive pre-trial hearings and depositions. His defence team comprised of a junior and senior counsel and a solicitor.

Also at this morning’s hearing, Mr Whelan applied to have the terms of his bail conditions eased.

Mr Whelan and Mr McAteer are currently awaiting sentence for their roles in the share support scheme. Judge Nolan has already indicated they will receive community service instead of a jail term on condition they are deemed suitable by the Probation Service.

They were remanded on bail until July 31 when Judge Nolan will finalise sentence.

This morning counsel for Mr Whelan, Lorcan Staines BL, asked Judge Nolan to remove the bail condition that his client has to sign on at his local garda station at regular intervals.

Counsel also asked that Mr Whelan be allowed leave the country without garda permission once he has met with his probation officer. Judge Nolan granted both requests after hearing the DPP had no objection.

During a further application, counsel for Mr FitzPatrick and Whelan asked the court to release trial documents so they could be used in a separate civil action they are taking in the High Court.

Aileen Donnelly SC, who is acting for the men in the High Court, said they are taking the action against the Matheson law firm, previously known as Matteson Ormsby Prentence.

During the criminal trial, the defendants claimed that they were given legal advice by Matheson Ormsby Prentence that the Maple Ten deal was legal. Evidence of this advice was ruled inadmissible by Judge Nolan.

This morning Ms Donnelly asked the court to release the book of evidence, transcripts and depositions from the criminal trial so that they can be used in the civil action. Judge Nolan granted the request.

The three bankers were charged at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank. The borrowers comprised of six members of Sean Quinn’s family and the Maple Ten group of investors.

Whelan also was charged with being privy to the fraudulent alteration of loan facility letters to seven individuals in October 2008.

Whelan and McAteer were convicted of providing the Maple Ten loans but acquitted of providing loans the Quinn family. Whelan was acquitted on the charges relating to the loan facility letters while Mr FitzPatrick was acquitted of all charges.

Mr FitzPatrick (65) of Greystones, Co Wicklow, McAteer (63) of Rathgar, Dublin and Whelan (52) of Malahide, Dublin denied all charges.

The Maple Ten transaction arose because of the need to unwind businessman Sean Quinn’s 29.4 per cent control of the bank which was destabilising the Anglo share price.

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