Tuesday 22 May 2018

FitzPatrick's wife seeks a share of €40m investments

Catriona FitzPatrick, wife of Sean FitzPatrick. Photo: Courtpix
Catriona FitzPatrick, wife of Sean FitzPatrick. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

The wife of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick is claiming that €40m of his investments were mostly funded from loan accounts in their joint names before he was declared bankrupt in 2010, the High Court has been told.

Catriona FitzPatrick, of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, says that under family law she has a beneficial interest in these investments regardless of the bankruptcy.

The court was told that €45m was realised from the sale of those assets.

The official assignee (OA) in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which acquired Anglo after its collapse, says Ms FitzPatrick has no legal, equitable or beneficial interest in assets held in the sole name of her husband.

Ms FitzPatrick has brought proceedings against the OA and her husband (as the bankrupt), claiming she has an entitlement to various assets that include property, shares and bonds.

The OA has brought his own proceedings against Mrs FitzPatrick and the couple's three children, David, Jonathan and Sara FitzPatrick, while IBRC has brought separate related proceedings against Mrs FitzPatrick.

Mr FitzPatrick was declared bankrupt in 2010 with assets of €47m and debts of €147m. He is now out of bankruptcy.

Gerard Durcan SC, for Ms FitzPatrick and the children, said her case related to her claim under Section 36 of the 1995 Family Law Act covering a spouse's entitlement to property.

Ms FitzPatrick would also be arguing in relation to the IBRC proceedings that a 2009 loan facility letter was issued which provided a "non-recourse" clause, meaning the bank could not have recourse to her or her children in event of default.

IBRC denies she is entitled to claim non-recourse.

The OA, in his proceedings, says he is not bound by the non-recourse clause.

The court heard direct evidence and cross examination of Frank Walsh, a forensic accountant employed by Ms FitzPatrick seven years ago, in relation to a "source of funds" document he prepared.

The investments, Mr Walsh said, were all in Mr FitzPatrick's sole name.

However, the loan funding was in their joint names and payments were made mainly through a deposit account also in their joint names. The investments were with names including Digicel, Berlin Property Investment, BNP Parisbas, and Ulster Bank Private Equity.

Asked by Mr Durcan how much was realised from the sale of those assets, Mr Walsh said it was around €45m.

Cross-examined by Paul Gallagher SC for the OA, Mr Walsh agreed he had not read all of the loan facility letters as they related to the individual investments as part of his work, but said this was because all other facility letters had been superseded by one issued in February 2009.

He said he was not a banking expert and his role was to assist in the preparation of the "source of funds" document.

Cross-examination of Mr Walsh by Paul Gardiner SC for IBRC continues today.

Irish Independent

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