Friday 20 April 2018

Jury in Anglo trial retires to consider its verdict

The three accused, from left, Pat Whelan, Sean FitzPatrick and Willie McAteer. Photo: PA
The three accused, from left, Pat Whelan, Sean FitzPatrick and Willie McAteer. Photo: PA

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE jury in the 10 week long trial of three former Anglo Irish executives has retired to consider verdicts against the accused.

The historic 14 strong jury has been reduced to 12 people for the purpose of the deliberations which commenced moments ago.

The two additional jurors whose presence is not required have been excused from jury service for 10 years by trial judge Martin Nolan.

Judge Nolan, who has presided over the 10 week trial, has this afternoon urged the jury of seven men and seven women to leave any prejudice they may have "at the jury door".

The historic 14 strong jury will be reduced to 12 people selected following a ballot.

These 12 will ultimately decide the guilt or innocence of the three accused.

The accused are: Sean FitzPatrick  (65), from Greystones, Co Wicklow; William McAteer (63), of Rathgar in Dublin; and Pat Whelan (51), of Malahide, Co Dublin.

All three men deny 10 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to net worth Anglo clients – known as the so-called Maple 10 - in July 2008 to buy shares in Anglo.

The loan-for-shares deal involved unwinding Mr Quinn’s secret 29pc stake in the bank, build up through contracts for difference (cfds).

Mr Whelan, Anglo’s former head of lending in Ireland and ex-chief risk officer Mr McAteer also deny six counts each of providing unlawful financial assistance to six members of the Quinn family as part of the same deal.

The judge told the jury there was no question the loans were given and no doubt the plan was executed for the purpose of stabilising the share price of Anglo.

“There was terror with Anglo Irish Bank that if all these shares came in to the market together as a result of Sean Quinn being knocked over that it would have a calamitous effect on the share price,” he said.

“What was needed by the bank was an orderly unwind.”

The judge said the bank maintains the share price itself was not critical, but confidence was important to ensure there was not a run on the bank.

“The collapse of the share price would have a huge affect on the bank and probably the entire irish banking system and that’s what the orderly unwind was there for.”

The trial continues.

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