Wednesday 22 November 2017

Regulator's office 'very positive' about loans, court hears

Witness Brian Gillespie at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Witness Brian Gillespie at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

THE second in command at the financial regulator's office was "very positive" about the loans for share deal at Anglo Irish Bank, a court heard.

A bank employee told the trial of three former Anglo executives that Con Horan and a lawyer advising the bank both supported the plan during conference calls the weekend the transactions were carried out.

Brian Gillespie said he overheard one conversation between Mr Horan, then prudential director at the regulator's office, and the financial services firm who wanted the go ahead before executing the deal.

"He was very very very positive about the transaction," said Mr Gillespie, then head of compliance (Ireland), about Mr Horan.

The bank worker said Morgan Stanley had requested the conference calls as part of its "due diligence process". A second was held with Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP), the law firm advising the bank.

Mr Gillespie said his view was that Robert Heron, who was a partner in firm at the time, was also "pro" towards the deal on the telephone.

Anglo's former chairman Sean FitzPatrick (65) from Greystones, Co Wicklow, former chief risk officer William McAteer (63) from Rathgar in Dublin and 51-year-old Pat Whelan, from Malahide, in Dublin, have all 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 (managing director of lending (Ireland) also denies seven charges of being privy to the fraudulent alternation of a loan facility letter.

Developer John McCabe earlier told the trial he took part in loan for shares plan because he was anxious to help a bank that had been very good to him for years.

He said he and his son met Mr Whelan, Anglo's "head lender", and then chief executive David Drumm at the bank's headquarters in July 2008 and explained four or five investors were needed to buy a 10pc stake held by a large investor.

""We asked all the relevant questions," said Mr McCabe.

"Was it legal? I was told it was totally legal.

"Who was aware of it? I was told the Financial Regulator was aware of it, the Central Bank, the Department of Finance and MOPs. And that the Financial Regulator was anxious to get it done."

Mr McCabe is the fifth member of the Maple 10 - 10 high profile customer chosen to lend 60m euro to buy shares in the bank - to give evidence at the trial.

Mr Drumm, is in the US and is not on trial.

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