Sunday 4 December 2016

Wife worth €3m as Seanie laughs all the way to court

Shane Phelan and Dearbhail McDonald

Published 23/09/2010 | 05:00

THE wife of disgraced banker Sean FitzPatrick is set to be worth more than €3m after the carve-up of his assets.

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Catriona FitzPatrick could be entitled to half of her husband's €3.4m pension pot.

Creditors will also be unable to touch her interest -- potentially worth as much as €2m -- in at least five properties co-owned with her husband.

The revelation came as a court yesterday appointed an official to divide up the former Anglo Irish Bank chairman's assets.

Chris Lehane, the official assignee in bankruptcy, can also trawl through Mr FitzPatrick's financial transactions for the five years prior to him being declared a bankrupt last July.

The Irish Independent has learned that Mr Lehane may seek to recover Mrs FitzPatrick's €1.7m interest in her husband's pension, if it can be demonstrated that she was never entitled to it in the first place.

A beaming Mr FitzPatrick (61), who was in court for the two-minute hearing, had no comment to make afterwards.

There were extraordinary scenes following the brief court appearance when the disgraced banker was given a warm welcome in the Barrister's Tea Room in the Four Courts.

A number of lawyers gathered in the law library's restaurant, shook his hand and joined him for mid-morning tea.

A statement of affairs filed with the High Court yesterday said Mr FitzPatrick had liabilities of almost €150m but assets of just under €50m.

His main creditor is state-owned Anglo, which says it is owed about €110m.

It was the second statement of affairs submitted by Mr FitzPatrick in the past two months.

He said yesterday that his only sources of general income came from an Irish Life annuity, worth €55,295-a-year, and income of €51,900 on three rental properties.

However, Mr FitzPatrick claimed that when mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, service charges, letting fees and other costs were taken into account, his income was now just €188 a month.

Accounts

The statement of affairs also revealed that Mr FitzPatrick has €2.1m in bank and building society accounts, almost €900,000 more than was listed as being in the accounts last July.

The significant change was not explained in documents filed with the courts.

Documents revealed that Mr FitzPatrick was facing five separate bills totalling €3.5m from the Revenue Commissioner in relation to unpaid income and capital gains tax.

One of those bills, which was for €1m, was reduced by €300,000 over the past two months.

The Revenue declined to comment on the specifics of the case last night.

The statement of affairs also revealed that the value of investments held by Mr FitzPatrick decreased over the past two months by almost €600,000. They are now worth €45.1m.

The investments included property interests in the UK, France, Hungary, South Africa and the US, as well as an investment in a Nigerian oil field.

Mr FitzPatrick also held a number of investment portfolios with stockbroking firms NCB, Davys and Goodbody's, and investment banks Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

He also owns 4.9 million shares in Anglo Irish, which are now worth nothing.

At yesterday's hearing, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne directed that the bankruptcy process would continue under Mr Lehane who would discharge Mr FitzPatrick's assets for the benefit of creditors.

Irish Independent

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