Wednesday 17 January 2018

Anglo sets sights on FitzPatrick's €13.5m pension pot


CONTROVERSIAL banker Sean FitzPatrick is facing the prospect of having to make monthly payments from his €533,000 annual pension to Anglo Irish Bank as it seeks to recover the €70.4m he owes in unpaid director's loans.

Sources close to Mr FitzPatrick have told the Sunday Independent that he is already preparing himself for the possibility that the newly nationalised bank will look for an instalment order through the courts, compelling him to make regular repayments from the €13.5m pension pot he walked away with upon his retirement in December 2008.

While an Anglo spokeswoman said last night it would be "inappropriate to comment" on the matter, the imposition of such an order against Mr FitzPatrick would certainly be in keeping with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's statement last Thursday that Anglo's new management team would pursue the recovery of its former directors' loan "to the ends of the earth".

Mr Lenihan made the remark following the lodgement by Anglo earlier that day of a summary summons for judgement of the €70.4m against Mr FitzPatrick in the High Court's Central Office.

It is considered highly unlikely that the bank will recoup anything approaching this amount from the former banker through the seizure or enforced sale of his assets.

Indeed, it is understood that Mr FitzPatrick has already offloaded a significant portion of his property and investment portfolio over the course of the last year in an effort to bring down his borrowings with his former employer.

According to Anglo's most recent financial statements, its former chairman owed €106.5m at the end of March 2009. This sum has since dropped by some €20m through Mr FitzPatrick's sale of properties, share portfolios and investments.

The outstanding €70.4m for which Anglo is now seeking judgement is spread across three loan facilities. The largest of these facilities is for €67m and is understood to be secured mostly on Anglo shares -- shares which have beeneffectively rendered worthless in light of the bank's nationalisation.

And while records held at the Registry of Deeds suggest that Mr FitzPatrick still owns a number of valuable residential properties in Dublin and Wicklow, Anglo Irish Bank's chances of taking possession of these, or forcing their sale would appear to be remote.

An examination of Land Registry records shows that both of Mr FitzPatrick's houses in Greystones, Co Wicklow, are mortgaged to other financial institutions, a factor which immediately reduces Anglo's chances of securing first charge against the properties

The former Anglo chief's family home -- which is owned jointly with his wife -- has been mortgaged with the First National Building Society since 1995.

A neighbouring property which was purchased by the FitzPatricks more recently was mortgaged with the Ulster Bank in January 2008, according to official records.

Elsewhere in County Wicklow, the filings show that Mr FitzPatrick assigned the ownership of Belton House -- a commercial property on Castle Street in Bray -- to his son Jonathan in 1999, a move which puts it beyond the reach of potential creditors.

In Dublin, meanwhile, Mr FitzPatrick's ownership of two apartments is effectively tied up through joint ownership arrangements with his wife and son David respectively, and through mortgages with the EBS's mortgage subsidiary, Haven, and the First Active Building Society.

According to the records, he acquired a two-bed apartment in the exclusive Court development in Killiney in May 2006, availing initially of a mortgage with Anglo Irish Bank to complete the purchase. That mortgage was cleared in May 2008 with a new loan taken out through Haven Mortgages Ltd.

Closer to Dublin city centre, Mr FitzPatrick jointly purchased an apartment at Kelston Hall in Foxrock with his son, David, in 2004 with the assistance of a mortgage from First Active Building Society.

Sunday Independent

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