Saturday 20 January 2018

Profile: Sean FitzPatrick once ran a bank worth €12bn

SEAN FitzPatrick once ran a bank worth an astonishing €12bn.

Anglo was Ireland's third largest financial institution before its spectacular collapse, with almost 2,000 employees.

FitzPatrick was paid a handsome €2.7m per year for running it.

Like clockwork, every year Anglo would announce record profit levels and its average growth rate at the peak of the Celtic Tiger was a breakneck 35pc.

As chief executive, FitzPatrick basked in the approval of Dublin's financial community, and banks from around the world would visit Dublin to talk with Anglo executives about their secret financial recipe.

FitzPatrick was a powerful figure -- wealthy, charismatic and ultra-successful.

Inside and outside Anglo, he was lauded and feared in equal measure.

People wanted him on their boards, politicians would seek his advice on the economy and every speech he made at a public function was reported on by a slavish media.

Unfortunately for FitzPatrick, from December 18, 2008, (when he admitted not disclosing to his own shareholders €87m of loans), his power seeped away, his social circle dwindled and his reputation has gone up in flames with the public.

The reason FitzPatrick is so often blamed for causing the crisis is down to his own personal actions.

For example, he refused to explain what happened at Anglo Irish in a forum where his account could be dissected and tested.

He also refused to appear before the Oireachtas, even though much-maligned bankers like Lehman Brothers boss Richard Fuld had to take their chances in the US Senate.

Today he was charged over a failed insider trading scam after being brought to the Criminal Courts in Dublin for alleged financial irregularities at the bank.

He was released on bail today on his own bond of €1,000, an independent surety of €10,000.

But he also faces the humiliation of having to sign on at a garda station each Wednesday and must also continue to reside at his current address in Greystones or give 48 hours notice of a change of address.

The Anglo/FitzPatrick saga has a few more chapters to it before the story ends.

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