Friday 9 December 2016

FitzPatrick: 'I have regrets but I'm not ashamed of my behaviour'

Fergus Black

Published 10/01/2011 | 05:00

THE man portrayed as the villain of the economic collapse believes he is a scapegoat and that he is one of its biggest victims.

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Sean FitzPatrick, the vilified former head of Anglo Irish Bank, says he cannot understand why he has become the face of Ireland's banking crisis and, by extension, of the economic downturn.

While he is happy to "put my hands up" and apologise to all his creditors, he says he has got to get on and live his life and while he feels regret, he is not ashamed.

Two years on from the Anglo crash Mr FitzPatrick has now spoken about his banking career, his investments, public disgrace, his arrest and his bankruptcy. In his interviews, he insists he himself is a victim.

"When people talk about ruin and losses, I am one of the biggest victims of it. I have to say that very carefully, because people would pillory me. They would say they have lost so much money. I have lost money as well. My commitment was there in pounds, shillings, and pence."

Mr FitzPatrick says he still cannot understand why he has become the face of Ireland's banking collapse.

"I had no sense of the -- what's the word -- the bitterness and the coldness and the anger and the whole sense of betrayal of this. 'F*** this, this is disgraceful, look at this guy FitzPatrick, one of the architects or one of the starters of this whole economy, look at what he has f****** done. He has f***** us all.' I had no sense of that at all, absolutely none."

Two years on and now bankrupt, he claims he is a "scapegoat" and denies ever doing anything illegal. However, referring to the transfer of his personal loans he does now admit it was "wrong in hindsight".

"What I did was wrong and it was a mistake. But it does not deserve ... the punishment that has been inflicted on me over the past two years."

On his bankruptcy he says: "I can't repay all of the liabilities that I owe (but) I didn't run and steal the money."

He speaks of "stress" and "the humiliation" and how "my whole social circle has diminished", although some friends have remained loyal.

"I have done everything that I can to make sure that the stress does not get on top of me. By and large it hasn't, but that doesn't mean that there aren't dark nights or dark mornings or dark weeks. But it was never so dark that there wasn't a light somewhere around the place.

"Friends have been good to me, ex-colleagues have been good to me. My family has been incredible. All of that has helped me get through it."

Mr FitzPatrick admits to "regret", but insists he is not ashamed of his actions.

"I am happy to put my hands up. I am very happy to apologise to all my creditors. I don't feel ashamed, but I do feel regret, very serious regret, and I am sorry that it is going to cause people losses ... But that is it. I have got to get on and live my life."

He now accepts Anglo Irish Bank's lending model created a perfect storm when property values dropped. He admits his former bank "created the monster which brought us all down" and now accepts his share of responsibility for this.

"Of course I have to accept it. But you could also argue that the regulations contributed to it. The Government, the punters, the investors."

Irish Independent

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