Monday 11 December 2017

Anglo deal ‘to stablilise whole Irish bank system’

Declan Quilligan. Picture: Courtpix
Declan Quilligan. Picture: Courtpix

Dearbhail McDonald and Sarah Stack

The loan for shares deal offered to Anglo Irish Bank's top ten customer was to stabilise the Irish banking system and not just the bank, a court heard.

Declan Quilligan, former CEO of the bank's UK business, said he was told the Financial Regulator and advisors were behind the deal, but he wished with the "benefit of hindsight" everyone had signed up in writing.

He told the trial of three Anglo executives at the  Circuit Criminal Court that the Maple 10 plan was executed to stabilise Anglo, the problem Sean Quinn has brought to their door, and stabilise the banking system.

"I wish with the benefit of hindsight we got Everybody to sign off on the transaction to say the reason the we are doing this is for the benefit of the Irish banking system," he said.

Mr Quilligan maintained there was no discomfort about the deal to unwind Sean Quinn's secret stake in the bank until after Anglo was nationalised in January 2009 - six months later - when "it was held out as poor governance".

"At the time we felt like we had acted alone and hadn't consulted and hadn't taken advise and I felt at that time the whole story wasn't being told," he added.

Mr Quilligan was giving evidence today (TUES) in the trial of Sean FitzPatrick, 65, from Greystones in Co Wicklow, 51-year-old Patrick Whelan of Malahide in Dublin and 63-year-old William McAteer of Rathgar in Dublin.

The men have pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of unlawfully providing financial assistance to individuals for the purpose of buying shares in Anglo Irish Bank in 2008.

Mr Whelan has also denied seven charges of being privy to the fraudulent alteration of a loan facility letter.

Mr Quilligan, a chartered accountant, was an executive director of Anglo at the time of the alleged offences.

He served as CEO of the bank's UK business when the bank lent sums of money to what became known as the Maple 10.

The Maple 10 was a group of high net worth individuals – some of Anglo's "well regarded" customers – to whom the bank lent money as part of a plan to unwind Sean Quinn's stake.

Mr Quilligan said he was "relaxed" about the plan as it had the assumed the bank was lending the money to the investors, and thought other board members did too.

Mr Quilligan also told the trial of three former executives that Anglo approached Rabobank -  who own ACC bank - about the possibility of taking over ACC bank in 2008.

Management believed it could have raised new capital and "sort the Quinn issue" had Dutch owned ACC bank agreed to be taken over by the niche lender.

This would have allowed Anglo to raise new capital and resolved the Quinn issue, Mr Quilligan has told a 15 strong jury at Dublin's Criminal Courts of Justice.

But ACC declined Anglo's offer.

The trial of the three former executives heard yesterday (MON) that senior management travelled to the Middle East, the United States and Holland as they tried to unwind Sean Quinn's 29pc stake that was built up through contracts for difference (CFDs) before the Maple 10 deal was agreed.

The trial continues.

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