Dawn raid for banker who tried to avoid limelight
Published 25/03/2010 | 05:00
IT is a house that befits a quietly successful banker who avoids the limelight.
But yesterday the home of the former finance director of Anglo Irish Bank was firmly centre stage.
At 6.30am, the quiet of Auburn Villas was broken as a series of unmarked garda cars congregated at the end of the laneway before plain clothes gardai spilled out ready to arrest William McAteer.
The house may be nestled in the middle of pricey Rathgar in south Dublin among period homes with multi-million euro price tags, but the former banker's residence is a comparatively modest affair.
A modern red-brick bungalow at the end of a secluded and rutted laneway, it isn't the flash pad of many a Celtic Tiger financier.
For a man who at one stage was sitting on bank shares worth a massive €60m, there were none of the trappings of immense wealth on view -- at least from the outside.
As the neighbourhood awoke yesterday morning, three garda cars pulled into the lane and at least six plain clothes officers began ferrying boxes of documents and files from the house. Computers and discs were also removed as part of the garda inquiry.
A blue estate car was slowly backed up to the front door and was quickly filled before leaving the scene.
The 59-year-old banker, who stepped down from his role as finance director and chief risk officer in January of last year, was escorted from the premises and brought to Irishtown garda station a few miles away.
He is the second high-profile Anglo banker to be arrested by members of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in as many weeks.
But unlike the media circus surrounding the arrest and questioning of former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick in Co Wicklow last week, there were only a few press photographers and camera crews hoping to catch a glimpse of Mr McAteer outside the garda station yesterday afternoon.
Of course, Mr McAteer doesn't have the same cachet as 'Seanie' FitzPatrick, the man with the Midas touch who was the face of the boom years until his spectacular fall from grace.
Mr McAteer may be well-known in banking circles, but he doesn't have the same public profile as his former boss.
Third in line to the Anglo throne, he made a swift exit following the lead of Mr FitzPatrick and ex-chief executive David Drumm.