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Friday 22 August 2014

Two schemes to unwind Quinn's stake

Dearbhail McDonald

Published 30/04/2014 | 02:30

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THERE were two schemes in 2008 to unwind Sean Quinn's (pictured) stake in the former Anglo Irish Bank. Both involved lending by the bank to do so.

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SCHEME 1 – The March Agreement

A written agreement was reached between Anglo and the Quinn family to unwind Mr Quinn's secret stake. As part of that agreement, Anglo was to lend €460m to the Quinn family. Negotiations took place with Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers about them coming in subsequently to refinance the loan. But the scheme did not proceed because institutional investors could not be found.

Former Financial Regulator Pat Neary said he was not aware of that written agreement, nor was he aware that a copy had been sent to the regulator's office.

But Judge Nolan said that Neary and his then second-in-command Con Horan "must have known" from March 2008 that it was intended that Anglo would lend money to buy its own shares as part of the unwind scheme.

SCHEME 2 – The Maple Transaction

Anglo lent €450m to 10 clients, known as the Maple 10, and €160m to the Quinns to unwind the Quinn position.

Judge Nolan said he was "totally surprised" that the Financial Regulator – who did not query the legality of the March agreement – did not warn Anglo. He wasn't sure if the regulator knew in July 2008 that there would be lending to the Maple 10 but said the regulator knew there would be lending to the Quinns, at least on a short-term basis.

The Maple 10 loans were deemed illegal by a jury.

The judge said it seemed that the regulator knew this was a breach of the law or chose to disregard it.

Irish Independent

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