independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Sean Quinn told Financial Regulator he needed to be ‘reined in’, court hears

The latest from day three of Anglo Trial

From left, William McAteer; Sean Fitzpatrick and Pat Whelan
From left, William McAteer; Sean Fitzpatrick and Pat Whelan

BUSINESSMAN Sean Quinn told the Financial Regulator "Sean Quinn needed to be reigned in" because he had "been greedy" in terms of his involvement with Contracts for Difference (CFDS) that had been used to build up a stake in Anglo Irish Bank.

The jury  in the trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank directors has heard that Mr Quinn described himself as "greedy" during a meeting with Financial Regulator Pat Neary on February 28th, 2008.

Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court has heard that just a week earlier the Financial Regulator did not know Mr Quinn had built up a stake in the bank during a separate February 20 meeting with executives from Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL).

The existence of a 24pc stake had been revealed by Mr Quinn to Anglo's former CEO and its then chairman Sean FitzPatrick at a September 2007 meeting in the Ardboyne Hotel in Navan.

This morning Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court was told by the former CEO of the Quinn Group Liam McCaffrey that Mr Quinn's losses through Contracts for Difference (CFDs) were "more than a billion" when the insurance arm of the Quinn Group met with the Financial Regulator on February 20, 2008.

Mr Quinn's Contracts for Difference(CFD)  position had been built up from 2006 through a company called Bazelly, registered in Madeira.

At the February 20, 2008 meeting, which later resulted in a record €3.5m sanction made by the regulator against QIL, Mr Quinn apologised for "errors" in a series of transactions made by the insurance company.

Mr Quinn reassured regulator Pat Neary of the "fundamental profitability" of QIL and said that there was an €80m balance held in Bazelly, a Madeira based company.

Yesterday the jury heard that Bazelly Limited was the vehicle used by Mr Quinn to build up his stake in the bank.

The Financial Regulator  was informed about Bazelly at the February 20, 2008 meeting, but Mr McCaffrey said there was no mention of CFDs.

"There was no mention, but I think that (CFDs) was clear," said Mr McCaffrey.

Mr McCaffrey is the fourth witness to testify in the trial of Sean FitzPatrick, 65, from Greystones in Co Wicklow, 51-year-old Patrick Whelan of Malahide in 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.

Yesterday the 15 strong jury was told how the one-time tycoon's indirect stake in the bank got as high as 28pc or 29pc in March 2008.

Falling share prices in 2008 and 2007 meant the Quinn Group was forced to borrow more and more from Anglo Irish Bank to fund the bet, but Mr Quinn remained convinced the shares would eventually recover.

"How low can they go?" was Mr Quinn's attitude, Mr McCaffrey told the jury.

Mr McCaffrey has outlined how Mr Quinn's bet on Anglo Irish Bank shares through so-called contracts for difference (CFD) led the Quinn family to ultimately pledge all of the shares in the Quinn Group to the bank in exchange for loans of hundreds of millions of euro made to the group.

The CFD holding was built up outside the main Quinn Group as part of a strategy to provide members of the Quinn family with independent wealth, he said. The strategy "went fatally wrong in the end", he said.

Irish Independent

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