Monday 16 July 2018

Wife of former Anglo chairman FitzPatrick in battle for assets

Sean FitzPatrick: his wife claims she has an interest in assets held in his sole name Picture: Frank McGrath
Sean FitzPatrick: his wife claims she has an interest in assets held in his sole name Picture: Frank McGrath

Tim Healy

A dispute over the entitlement of the wife of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick to an interest in "substantial" assets held in his sole name will be heard next year at the High Court.

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (Ibrc), along with Mr FitzPatrick's bankruptcy trustee Chris Lehane, are opposing the claims of Catriona FitzPatrick.

Certain witnesses may have to be subpoenaed for the hearing, and a statement concerning the source of funding for the 19 assets has yet to be agreed between the sides, Ms Justice Marie Baker was told during a case management hearing.

The case centres on a clause in a February 2009 loan agreement between Anglo and Mr FitzPatrick and Ms FitzPatrick and their three children.

Ms FitzPatrick claims the clause limits the recourse of State-owned Ibrc (which acquired Anglo after its collapse) against herself and her children.

Mr FitzPatrick was adjudicated a bankrupt in 2010 with debts of €147m and assets said to be worth some €47m.

He exited bankruptcy some three years ago.

Ms FitzPatrick claimed entitlement in 2012 to various assets. Then Mr Lehane and Ibrc took separate but related proceedings in 2014 arguing she had no legal, equitable or beneficial interest in assets in the sole name of her husband.

Mr Lehane claims the clause in the 2009 agreement comprises a settlement of property by Sean FitzPatrick, a bankrupt, that was not made in good faith and for valuable consideration, and in breach of the Bankruptcy Act.

He wants orders setting aside the purported settlement.

Ibrc claims Ms FitzPatrick has no legal, equitable or beneficial interest in assets held in the sole name of her husband and claims it was an implied term of the 2009 loan agreement she would not claim such an interest.

The sides have agreed 10 issues need to be decided, including if Ibrc is entitled to rescission of the relevant clause on grounds of mistake and/or misrepresentation.

Yesterday Declan McGrath SC, for Ibrc, said his side had written to Mr FitzPatrick, who is not a party to the case, seeking documents.

Mr FitzPatrick had raised issues about the costs of discovering those and had not committed to discovery. Ibrc would address his costs query and, depending on Mr FitzPatrick's response, an application for non-party discovery may be brought.

Jacqueline O'Brien SC, for Ms FitzPatrick, sought and obtained a week to respond to the additional material to be obtained by Mr Lehane's office.

The judge said Ms FitzPatrick's side should write to Mr Lehane setting out in the "greatest detail" possible the information they require.

Irish Independent

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