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Bankrupt banker is advised by leading barrister

BUST banker Sean FitzPatrick has sought the advice of one of the country's top barristers on a possible civil dispute.

The bankrupt former Anglo Irish Bank chairman has met with senior counsel Michael O'Higgins in recent days to discuss the undisclosed matter, which has yet to come before the courts.

Although Mr O'Higgins is considered one of the country's leading criminal defence barristers, the Irish Independent understands he is providing advice on a civil matter relating to Mr FitzPatrick's complicated finances.

Sources have confirmed that Mr O'Higgins' involvement is not in any way related to an ongoing garda fraud inquiry into Mr FitzPatrick's activities or a separate investigation currently being carried out by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board.

The barrister was seen meeting Mr FitzPatrick in Bray, Co Wicklow, on Monday.

Mr O'Higgins declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday, while Mr FitzPatrick has maintained a media silence since he was arrested for garda questioning last year.


Mr FitzPatrick was made bankrupt last July with liabilities of almost €146m, including €110m owed to his former employers Anglo.

The liabilities include unpaid tax bills sought by the Revenue Commissioners, although Mr FitzPatrick has disputed the amount of the money owed.

Separately, Chris Lehane, the official assignee in bankruptcy handling Mr FitzPatrick's case, has been examining whether any arrangements involving the former banker's finances in the six months before he was declared bankrupt were in breach of bankruptcy legislation.

According to court papers, Mr Lehane sought legal advice about certain transactions and arrangements.

However, the exact nature of the transactions were not revealed. The legal advice received by Mr Lehane was also not disclosed.

Mr FitzPatrick's assets are currently being sold off to pay creditors.

However, he has been able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Records showed that his wife Catriona had over €1.1m in bank accounts in the middle of last year.

Mrs FitzPatrick is also entitled to half of her husband's €6.8m pension pot.

Irish Independent