Sunday 22 April 2018

Bankruptcy proceedings may prejudice trial -- ex-Anglo boss

Aodhan O Faolain and Cormac McQuinn

FORMER Anglo Irish Bank boss Sean FitzPatrick is seeking to delay efforts to quiz him in court in relation to his bankruptcy proceedings as his lawyers claim it could prejudice his criminal case.

Court official Christopher Lehane, who has been appointed to distribute Mr FitzPatrick's assets to his creditors, is seeking to cross-examine the disgraced banker about a disputed loan for an office building in London.

Mr FitzPatrick bought shares in the property, Woolgate Exchange in the City financial district, in 2006.

Irish investors, including Mr FitzPatrick, lost a combined €72m when the building was sold at a loss earlier this year.

Others reported to have suffered losses on the investment include former AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson, developer David Arnold of D2 Private, Senator Feargal Quinn and veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne.

Investment

It is understood that Mr FitzPatrick's investment came to more than €1m.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne was asked by lawyers representing Mr FitzPatrick to adjourn an application by bankruptcy assignee Mr Lehane to cross-examine him about the ownership of the high-rise office block.

They claimed that the questioning may give rise to a perception of prejudice in Mr FitzPatrick's ongoing criminal case.

Lawyers for Mr Lehane said there was "no connection" between the issue and the criminal action against him.

Ms Justice Dunne said while she was conscious of the criminal proceedings, she wanted any alleged prejudice arising out of the proposal to examine Mr FitzPatrick outlined in a sworn statement to the court.

She then adjourned the matter for two weeks so that the statement can be prepared.

Irish Independent

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