Friday 19 July 2019

Wife of ex-Anglo chief Sean FitzPatrick settles cases relating to €6m of his assets

Catriona Fitzpatrick, wife of Sean Fitzpatrick, pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts
Catriona Fitzpatrick, wife of Sean Fitzpatrick, pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

HIGH Court actions involving Catriona FitzPatrick, wife of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick have been settled.

Ms Justice Marie Baker had been hearing three sets of proceedings since last week related to Mrs FitzPatrick's claim that she was entitled to some €6m of her husband's assets.  He was declared bankrupt in 2010 with assets of some €47m and debts of €147m.  He later exited from bankruptcy.

Mrs Fitzpatrick had brought proceedings against the official assignee (OA) in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane, claiming she had a beneficial interest in certain of his assets as a result of having paid towards loans for assets.  She also brought a claim under family law.

The OA, in the estate of Mr Fitzpatrick, brought his own proceedings against Mrs Fitzpatrick and the couple's three adult children, David, Jonathan and Sara Fitzpatrick. Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which acquired Anglo after its collapse, brought separate related proceedings against Mrs Fitzpatrick.

The OA and IBRC said she no legal, equitable, or beneficial interest in assets held in the sole name of her husband. They said she was not entitled to rely on that alleged interest to make her claim under family law.

The case was about to enter its fifth day when Jacqueline O'Brien, for the FitzPatrick side, said the court could make orders dismissing proceedings brought by Mrs FitzPatrick against the the OA and the other two sets of proceedings, by the OA and IBRC, could be struck out.

Ms Justice Baker, granting the orders, commended the parties and said a lot of work had been done in a case that raised important issues.

The case centred on 18 assets, worth around €40m, comprising properties in Ireland and abroad as well as investments in various funds.

Mr FitzPatrick had been under direct examination by Ms O'Brien on Friday in relation to how he got loans, which eventually came to some €120m, to buy those assets.  Those loans, the court heard, were taken from joint Anglo accounts held by himself and his wife, he said.

Catriona FitzPatrick, who spent about a day-and-a-half in the witness box, including lengthy cross examination by lawyers for the OA and IBRC, repeatedly said she left most of the financial matters to Sean because she trusted him totally, because he was involved in finance and knew what he was doing.

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