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Saturday 20 September 2014

Party-on Seanie puts all his troubles behind him

Occasional heckle a minor inconvenience for disgraced ex-Anglo boss

LIAM COLLINS and RONALD QUINLAN

Published 04/07/2010 | 05:00

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HE is staring bankruptcy in the face, and the bank he built and broke has been officially declared as the worst performer in the world for 2009.

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But that doesn't mean that Sean FitzPatrick can't enjoy himself while the taxpayer foots the €22bn bill for the extraordinary mismanagement of Anglo Irish Bank.

Last weekend, the silver-haired career banker was showing no sign of having learned any of the harsh lessons of the recession, as he enlisted the help of event rental specialists Select Hire for a party at his substantial home in Greystones, Co Wicklow.

It is believed that the bash was attended by a select cross-section of Mr FitzPatrick's family and loyal friends, and may have been held to celebrate the former high-flier's 62nd birthday, which Companies Office records state fell on June 25 last.

Efforts by the Sunday Independent to elicit the finer details of the celebrations were unsuccessful, with a number of those who would have been on his guestlist in years gone by claiming to know nothing about the party when contacted.

Commenting on the event, one close friend of Mr FitzPatrick's said: "He did what? Oh, Jesus! I don't understand why he doesn't just stay out of the way and stop drawing attention to himself . . . That's crazy behaviour altogether."

The Sunday Independent has also learned that the former Anglo boss found himself on the receiving end of harsh words from a heckler as he stepped up to take his prize for second place in the prestigious Captain's Prize at Greystones Golf Club recently.

It is understood the heckler may now be called before the club committee to explain his reasons for loudly shouting out "where's our €22bn" as Mr FitzPatrick was being presented with his award during a dinner in the clubhouse.

According to a club insider, there was consternation earlier among some members when it looked as if Mr FitzPatrick might win the Captain's Prize himself.

However, in the end a relatively new member won the competition and Mr FitzPatrick picked up the second prize and an earful of verbal abuse on behalf of the Irish taxpayer.

Sources at Greystones Golf Club say that the former Anglo chairman receives a "mixed reception" whenever he tees off. Many of those who have suffered in the economic collapse blame the golf- loving banker for their predicament.

However, older members of Greystones, one of several clubs of which Mr FitzPatrick is a member, believe that he should be remembered for the generous support he and Anglo Irish Bank gave to the club in the past.

Indeed, such was the level of support at the now-nationalised Anglo Irish Bank that from 2006 to 2008, the golf-mad bank management spent €1.13m on golfing events -- including more than €200,000 on golf balls alone.

Prior to being taken over by the State, Anglo executives enjoyed the benefit of a corporate membership at the prestigious Druid's Glen Golf Club, which is located within a five-minute drive of Mr FitzPatrick's Greystones home.

Since his departure from Anglo Irish Bank, Mr Fitzpatrick has continued to work on his handicap at Druids' Glen, Greystones and at the exclusive Las Brisas Golf and Country Club in the Spanish resort of Marbella.

Representatives for Mr FitzPatrick, meanwhile, are due to meet with his creditors this Wednesday in a last ditch effort to reach an agreement that would see the former Anglo Irish Bank chairman avoid bankruptcy.

It is understood that Mr FitzPatrick is looking for his creditors' consent to a private deal called a 'scheme of arrangement', under which they would receive full security over what he claims is a potentially valuable oil project in Nigeria.

Mr FitzPatrick claims his creditors, who are led by Anglo Irish Bank, would recoup €8m more from him were they to agree to the deal.

It is widely anticipated that Anglo Irish Bank, which is owed €110m and represents 40 per cent of Mr FitzPatrick's indebtedness, would move to block any such scheme of arrangement should it come to a vote of the creditors.

In an affidavit on the matter, Mr FitzPatrick has expressed his view that Anglo Irish Bank had decided to proceed against him, even at the expense of its ability to maximise its potential to recover its borrowings.

He said he believed the bank's policy was being driven by public perception that its former executives should not be let off the hook. That claim has been rejected by the bank.

Sunday Independent

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