Saturday 22 October 2016

Sean FitzPatrick trial delayed

By Declan Brennan

Published 05/05/2015 | 14:54

Sean Fitzpatrick
Sean Fitzpatrick

The judge in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick has told the jury she does not know when the trial will begin in evidence.

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The jury of six men and six women were sworn on April 14 last and told that the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court would run for six weeks up until May 28.

The trial has been in legal argument since April 16 and the jurors have been notified by telephone a number of times that the opening of the trial before them would be delayed.

Mr FitzPatrick (66) of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the Companies Act, 1990. These include 21 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and six charges of furnishing false information.

The charges are in connection with the disclosure of loans allegedly given to him or people connected to him by Irish Nationwide Building Society from 2002 to 2007 while he was an officer of Anglo Irish Bank.

This morning Judge Mary Ellen Ring told the jury that matters have taken longer than anyone could have predicted, for a “variety of reasons”.

She asked the jurors to return on Thursday and said at this point she could not say when the trial would actually start before them in evidence. She said that it will not finish this month and asked them to consider their abilities to stick with the trial now that it will run into June.

She said people may have commitments and asked jurors to look at their positions and see if they had difficulties.

Judge Ring noted that one juror has had difficulties with his employer around his jury service and she said the court could arrange for correspondence for any other jurors who were having similar difficulties.

During the empanelment of the jury last month around 31 people were excused from jury service after giving reasons to the judge in private. The jury includes a housewife, a child care worker, a self employed property manager, a self employed computer programmer, an out of work IT worker, an engineer and a carpenter.

Mr FitzPatrick is accused of failing to disclose to Anglo’s auditors, Ernst and Young, the true amount of loans to him or people connected with him.  

The prosecution claims he authorised arrangements to ensure that the balance of those loans would be reduced or appear to be reduced at the end of the bank’s financial year and failed to tell the auditors about those arrangements.

He’s also accused of failing to tell the auditors about arrangements between Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society in connection with loans to him by Irish Nationwide. 

Finally he’s accused of producing financial statements about the value of loans to Anglo’s directors which failed to include the true amounts outstanding by him to the bank.

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