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Ex-Anglo finance chief 'made deal to protect home'

THE former finance chief of Anglo Irish Bank, Willie McAteer, ringfenced his family home and pension in case he stopped paying back his director's loans, according to the bank's disgraced former boss.

Ex-Anglo CEO David Drumm, who has filed for bankruptcy in the US, has claimed in court filings in Ireland that Mr McAteer prevented the bank from going after his pension and family home in a side deal reached in the weeks leading up to Anglo's nationalisation.

The exclusion clause was allegedly contained in a side agreement to a multi-million euro loan which Mr McAteer took out in January 2009 when the bank was in turmoil.

Detectives have already arrested and questioned ex-Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick and Mr McAteer about a series of alleged irregularities.

The Irish Independent has learnt that Mr McAteer did outline to Anglo in January 2009, in a side letter -- a separate deal that is used to clarify or modify the terms of a main agreement -- that his family home and pension would be safe in the event that he could no longer afford to repay his loans.


It is understood that there is now a dispute with the bank over the enforceability of the side letter.

When asked about the side facility letter by the Irish Independent, Mr McAteer -- whose loans are the subject of an investigation by the Chartered Accountants' Regulatory Board (Carb) -- said: "I can't really comment."

Mr McAteer is one of several former executives at Anglo who took out directors' loans which are being investigated by a number of bodies.

Anglo has taken a tough line with former executives over directors' loans.

The bank pursued Mr FitzPatrick over more than €70m in unpaid director's loans last year, events which triggered Mr FitzPatrick's high-profile descent into bankruptcy.

Last November, Anglo also began a €50m lawsuit against the one-time head of its Irish lending division.

The bank is seeking summary judgment orders in the Commercial Court against Tom Browne for €50m over unpaid loans.

Mr Drumm has claimed that over the December 2009/January 2010 period, Mr McAteer and Pat Whelan -- Anglo's former head of lending -- were involved in negotiations, similar to those that he was engaged in with Anglo, to agree suitable long-term repayment plans for their directors' loans.

A review of loans to directors was carried out in late December 2008 and January 2009 amid a public outcry after the resignations of Mr Drumm and Mr FitzPatrick.

Irish Independent