Friday 15 November 2019

If you put a gun to my head I'd name maybe six – ex-chairman on Maple 10

Sarah Stack

SEAN FitzPatrick was in the south of France when told 10 substantial customers would be lent money to unwind Sean Quinn's secret stake in the bank, a court heard.

Anglo Irish Bank's former chairman told gardai he was never informed of the identity of the 10 by chief executive David Drumm, who wanted to keep the details of the deal "very, very tight".

He alleged Mr Drumm informed him international investment bank Morgan Stanley was advising them and that the Central Bank and Financial Regulator – who had known about the Quinn problem – would be "delighted".

"He was ringing me not to discuss it, but telling me it's happening and I was to ring the board and tell them the good news," Mr FitzPatrick told officers.

"That we were coming to the end of this difficult situation."

Mr FitzPatrick said he was told by Mr Drumm the 10 would be given loans to fund the shares and that it was "all kosher, above board".

"Just think about that, was he going to go off and do something illegal in one of the most publicly looked-at deals in Ireland. Why would he do that?" he said to gardai.

"We had Morgan Stanley right in the middle advising us. Why would they not say you cannot do that? It all stacked up, it all looked appropriate."

He asked Mr Drumm if the 10 customers were real people of "substance", wealthy clients who would afford the loans if anything went wrong, and alleged he only heard names of the 10 in "dribs and drabs" through the media and friends more than six months later, the court was told.

"I heard the names bit by bit, there were three people I'd never met," he said. "If you were to put a gun to my head now I'd name maybe six."

Mr FitzPatrick presumed the Financial Regulator knew what was going ahead as he had been kept up to date at that point and said "it was pretty strong stuff" to suggest Mr Drumm misled the regulator.

"Yet you find yourself here today ... obviously the regulator made a complaint about the transaction," the interviewing garda said.

"That will come out in the wash one day because they (Financial Regulator) will be there," he replied.

"I can't say to you the regulator knew definitely because I wasn't there. I never knew they were going to do this so I never discussed it with a regulator good, bad or indifferent."

Irish Independent

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