Thursday 14 December 2017

Commercial court action by former Anglo exec Tom Browne adjourned

Tim Healy

A COMMERCIAL Court action by the former Anglo Irish Bank against its former head of lending was adjourned today.

The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IRBC) is suing Tom Browne in relation to more than €50m loans given to him by the bank prior to its nationalisation. The civil action was due to go ahead later this month.

A judge agreed to adjourn the case pending criminal proceedings against former Anglo chief executive Seán FitzPatrick and senior executive Pat Whelan who Mr Browne says are essential witnesses in the case against him.

Mr Browne, of Ferney Hill, Brighton Rd, Foxrock, Dublin claims he has no liability to IRBC on grounds including, when the loans were made, the bank was allegedly aware the interest acquired by Sean Quinn in the bank was such as to undermine its stability and to render his shareholding valueless.

Had he known of such matters, he would never have exercised his share options in late November 2007 or held on to shares which became "worthless", he claims.

Today, Mr Justice Brian McGovern said there appeared to be a substantial overlap between the civil case involving Mr Browne and the FitzPatrick/Whelan criminal proceedings.

The judge said he had no knowledge of the criminal proceedings only what he had read in the newspapers and only a very limited knowledge of the civil case.

The rights of citizens involved in criminal proceedings must take precedence, he said.

Earlier, counsel for the DPP Una N Raifeartaigh, said it would be better to postpone the civil trial until after the criminal proceedings as there may be an overlap with the criminal proceedings.

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