Thursday 18 December 2014

Sean FitzPatrick: ‘I was called in to fix Anglo’s relationship with Sean Quinn’

Quinn had fallen out with Anglo's then chief executive David Drumm

Published 28/03/2014 | 12:06

Sean Fitzpatrick
Sean Fitzpatrick

SEAN FitzPatrick was called in to repair Anglo Irish Bank’s relationship with Sean Quinn in the aftermath of the loan for shares deal, a court heard.

The former chairman told gardai the Cavan businessman was threatening legal action within weeks of €650m being lent to 16 people to unwind Mr Quinn’s secret stake in the bank.

The trial of three former executives heard Mr FitzPatrick was questioned over two days by fraud squad officers at Bray Garda Station in March 2010 over the transactions.

He was accused of breaking from his non-executive role by meeting Mr Quinn after July 2008, but he replied it had been "appropriate in exceptional circumstances” because the tycoon had fallen out with Anglo's then chief executive David Drumm.

“David’s relationship with Quinn was at a bottom line,” he said.

“David and Sean Quinn had a difficult relationship post transaction.

“They had effectively fallen out and the only person David saw fit to talk to Quinn was me.

“David couldn’t do it himself.

“My instructions were quite clear. Mend fences. Do not negotiate.”

Mr FitzPatrick (65), from Greystones, Co Wicklow; former head of finance and risk William McAteer (63), of Rathgar in Dublin; and Pat Whelan (51), of Malahide, Co Dublin, deny 16 counts each of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in Anglo Irish Bank.

The deal involved unwinding Mr Quinn’s 29pc holding, build up through contracts for difference (cfds), with loans to six members of the Quinn family and 10 high net worth Anglo clients, who became known as the Maple 10.

Mr Whelan, former head of lending (Ireland), also denies being privy to the fraudulent alteration of loan facility letters to seven individuals.

Memos of the Garda interview notes from the three co-accused have been read in tothe record at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin, which is hearing its 34th day of evidence.

Mr FitzPatrick maintains he was on holiday in the south of France on July 9, 2008, when he was called by Mr Drumm and told about the plan to lend 10 customers money to buy 10pc of the Quinn position.

He was told he did not need to know their identities, he added.

The ex-banker told officers Anglo's board had been trying to solve an “imperfect and dangerous” situation created by the former tycoon for up to seven months and denied it was strange that he was not informed of all the details of the deal by Mr Drumm.

“Suddenly he (Mr Drumm) came out and said we have got this solved,” Mr FitzPatrick added.

“Why would I say ‘how dare you’?

“Why would I do that?”

The trial continues.

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