Tuesday 28 February 2017

Three new jurors sworn in for trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick. Photo: Courtpix
Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick. Photo: Courtpix

Three new jurors have had to be sworn for the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick on charges of deceiving auditors.

The move was necessary after two jurors sworn last week at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, a man and a woman, asked to be excused.

This was agreed to by Judge John Aylmer.

The judge said a third juror, a man, had to be asked to stand down as it had come the court's attention there was a connection between an acquaintance of his and someone involved in the trial.

Three new jurors were subsequently selected, two women and a man.

It means the specially enlarged jury is now made up of six men and nine women.

Judge Aylmer said he wished to give the jury the opportunity to reflect overnight on whether there was any reason why they could not take part in the trial, which is expected to last for 12 weeks.

"I want you all to be sure you can deal with this case with absolute impartiality," he said.

The judge said there were ten categories of people whom it had been decided could not sit on the jury.

These include people with strong feelings about the banking crisis, anti-austerity protesters, people who had bank shares and people who knew anyone connected to the trial.

Judge Aylmer said jurors should be sure they do not fall into any of the categories cited.

He also warned jurors not to look for information on the internet or social media.

They were not to discuss the case with friends or family either, he said.

Judge Aylmer said it was imperative that they all be impartial and come to a verdict based solely on the evidence they hear.

The jury was excused until 2pm on Tuesday.

Mr FitzPatrick (68), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, is facing 27 separate charges, all of which he denies.

These include 21 counts of making misleading, false or deceptive statements to the auditors of Anglo Irish Bank, contrary to section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.

The offences allegedly occurred on dates between 2002 and 2007 and carry a maximum five year jail term.

Five counts allege Mr FitzPatrick did not disclose to auditors Ernst & Young arrangements temporarily reducing the balance of loans to him or persons connected to him at the end of the financial year. The reductions cited ranged in size from €4.3m to €88.9m.

Six counts allege Mr FitzPatrick failed to advise auditors of the need to revise financial statements after each temporary arrangement concluded. The sums involved in the arrangements cited ranged from €700,000 and €119.8m.

Four counts allege Mr FitzPatrick failed to disclose the full extent of loans received by him or persons connected to him from Anglo, ranging in value between €5.5m and €23.8m.

Six counts allege Mr FitzPatrick failed to inform auditors of an arrangement between Anglo and Irish Nationwide regarding loans he received from Irish Nationwide.

He also faces six charges of giving false information contrary to section 242 of the Companies Act 1990 on dates between 2002 and 2008.

The offences carry a maximum jail term of three years. All counts relate to Mr FitzPatrick allegedly producing financial statements giving a false figure for the aggregate value of loans to directors of Anglo.

It is alleged the amounts given left out the value of his own loans.

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