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Sunday 31 August 2014

The Drumm phone call

Sarah Stack

Published 17/04/2014 | 02:30

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Sean FitzPatrick was in the south of France in July 9, 2008 when he got a phone call from Anglo's chief executive David Drumm.

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Mr Drumm revealed that he'd found a solution to the Quinn problem: 10 high-net-worth clients – their identities kept a secret – would be given loans to fund the buying of the Quinn shares.

It was "all kosher, above board" according to Mr Drumm after Mr FitzPatrick queried several times if the 10 were "good" for paying back the money – real people of "substance", wealthy clients, who could afford the loans if anything went wrong.

It was good news for Anglo's board, which had been trying to solve an "imperfect and dangerous" situation created by Mr Quinn for up to seven months, Mr FitzPatrick told gardai. But Mr FitzPatrick has always maintained that this was his main knowledge about the Maple 10 loans.

THREAT

He may have been the face of Anglo rolled out to try and convince Sean Quinn to cut his stake in Anglo, and again sent out to "mend fences" when the former billionaire threatened to sue the lender.

But the prosecution eventually couldn't persuade the jury that he was sufficiently connected with the loan-for-shares deals at the centre of the case.

Why would the chief executive have done something illegal in one of the most publicly looked-at deals in Ireland? "It all stacked up, it all looked appropriate," he said.

That one call during his summer break did not mean Mr FitzPatrick either knew or permitted what the prosecution claimed was an illegal share scheme where Anglo's funds were used to finance the purchase of its shares.

Mr FitzPatrick has also maintained he knew little detail on the terms of the deal, including that just 25pc recourse was offered to the Maple 10, leaving the bank liable for millions if the share price collapsed.

His former colleagues on the board – Lar Bradshaw and Donal O'Connor – recalled that Mr FitzPatrick was "annoyed" and looked "surprised" when he heard the details over a month later.

Irish Independent

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