Saturday 25 March 2017

Mrs FitzPatrick has €1.1m cash in banks

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

THE wife of disgraced banker Sean FitzPatrick has more than €1.1m in a number of different bank accounts, recently filed court documents reveal.

An analysis of the documents -- part of Mr FitzPatrick's bankruptcy proceedings -- reveals Catriona FitzPatrick had bank balances totalling €1,135,000 just two months ago.

The sums represent her 50pc share in three joint bank accounts held with her husband.

The records do not include any accounts that may be held solely in Mrs FitzPatrick's name.

None of Mrs FitzPatrick's money can be touched by her husband's creditors, who are owed almost €146m by the bankrupt former Anglo Irish Bank chairman.

Documents also reveal that Mrs FitzPatrick is entitled to €3.4m -- double the amount previously reported -- out of her husband's €6.8m pension pot.

However, a court official appointed to disperse the banker's assets may now seek to review Mrs FitzPatrick's interest in her husband's pension.

Other records also showed how the Revenue Commissioners trawled through Mr FitzPatrick's affairs dating back to 1997 before hitting him with tax demands totalling €3.5m.

Mr FitzPatrick is currently appealing most of the demands.

The revelations come just a week after the former Anglo chief claimed his income was now just €188 a month.

An official assignee in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane, was formally appointed last week to divide Mr FitzPatrick's €49m worth of assets among his creditors.

These assets include bank accounts, investment funds and property interests in Ireland and abroad.

They also include the banker's 50pc portion of the bank accounts held jointly with his wife.

However, Mrs FitzPatrick's half of those accounts cannot be interfered with.

Records seen by the Irish Independent revealed the value of Mrs FitzPatrick's portion of the joint accounts as of July 12.

Three accounts were described as being split 50/50 between Mr FitzPatrick and his wife.

They included a joint ICS Building Society Account, where Mrs FitzPatrick's portion stood at €341,992.

A joint Bank of Ireland US dollar account held just over $2m. In euro, Mrs FitzPatrick's 50pc portion amounted to €791,631.

A joint Bank of Ireland account also contained just over €3,000.

Three other accounts were listed as being held by both Sean and Catriona FitzPatrick, but the proportion each benefited from was not described.

These included an Anglo Irish Bank easy-access account holding €38,692 and a Bank of Ireland account holding less than €900.

The third account, held at Ulster Bank, contained €358,633 last February. But it was virtually empty two months ago.

The account was used to pay €250,024 to Mr FitzPatrick's legal firm, O'Grady & Company, on March 12.

Records also show Mr FitzPatrick purchased an annuity from Irish Life Assurance at a cost of €1.75m in December 2009.

The annuity is now providing Mr FitzPatrick and his wife with a gross annual income of €55,245 and is guaranteed for 15 years.

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.

The arrangement under which the annuity was created could be examined by Mr Lehane, who has the power to examine Mr FitzPatrick's financial transactions for the five years prior to him being declared bankrupt.

Mr FitzPatrick was declared bankrupt in July after failing to get sufficient support from his creditors for a private settlement scheme to pay off his debts.

He had tried to negotiate with his creditors, but his proposals to repay debts were rejected by the largest creditor, Anglo.



PROBE

Mr FitzPatrick resigned from the bank in December 2008 after it emerged that he had hidden up to €87m in loans from bank auditors over an eight-year period.

He is currently at the centre of a probe by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation into irregularities at the bank.

Detectives arrested him at his home in Greystones, Co Wicklow, last March and questioned him for 24 hours under legislation relating to false accounting.

He was later released without charge.

The bank's former finance director, Willie McAteer, was also arrested and questioned before being released without charge.

Some 350 witness statements have been taken as part of the investigation.

Gardai say they expect to forward files to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the end of the year.

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