Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sean FitzPatrick says ‘no comment’ when charged with failing to disclose €139m worth of loans

Tom Tuite

FORMER Anglo chairman and chief executive Sean FitzPatrick had "no comment" when he was charged with failing to disclose at least €139m worth of loans to the bank's auditors, a court was told today.

The businessman was arrested this morning and brought before Dublin District Court on 12 new charges in connection with financial irregularities at the toxic bank over a six-year period.

Mr FitzPatrick, with an address at Camaderry, Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, stepped down in December 2008. Anglo was subsequently nationalised and re-branded the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) with its collapse costing Irish taxpayers about €30 billion.

The new charges have been brought under Section 197 of the Companies Act 1990, and allege he failed to disclose to auditors Ernst & Young the true value of loans given to him or people connected to him, by Irish Nationwide Building Society.

The former Anglo boss was remanded on bail subject to conditions after the court heard he had replied "no comment" when each charge was put to him.

Mr FitzPatrick (64) is charged with 12 offences. He stands accused that as an officer of the bank, he knowingly or recklessly made false, misleading or deceptive statements to Anglo's auditors from 2002 to 2007.

Fraud squad Detective Inspector Raymond Kavanagh told the court he arrested Mr FitzPatrick yesterday (FRI) morning at the Bridewell Garda Station and charged him on each count.

"In reply to each charge after caution, Judge, Mr Fitzpatrick said "no comment",” Det Insp Kavanagh told Judge Michael Walsh.

State solicitor Jane Farrell said all the charges would go forward on indictment, meaning they will be sent for trial by judge and jury to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. A 10-week adjournment was needed for the preparation of the book of evidence.

Defence Solicitor Michael Staines said his client was consenting to this adjournment.

Det Inspector Kavanagh, who is with the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, on secondment to the Director of Corporate Enforcement, confirmed to the defence lawyer that Mr Fitzpatrick had met him by appointment today.

Judge Michael Walsh granted bail in Mr FitzPatrick’s own bond of €1,000 and he agreed to impose bail terms stating he must continue to reside at his current address, and give 48 hours' prior notice to gardai of any change of residence.

The judge also ordered him to sign once a week between at Irishtown Garda Station.

But this condition could be suspended in the event that he travels outside the jurisdiction subject to him notifying the gardai of an plans to travel 48 hours in advance.

Mr FitzPatrick, who was wearing a navy blue suit, with a light blue shirt and red tie, sat with his hands folded and looked straight ahead throughout the brief hearing.

The court heard that gardai were not requiring any independent surety.

The case was adjourned to March 1 pending the preparation of a book evidence.

Mr FitzPatrick, who has not yet indicated how he will plead to the charges, addressed the court just once to say “thank you” to Judge Walsh when the hearing ended.

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