Former bankers before court on fraud charges
TWO former Anglo Irish Bank directors yesterday became the first bankers to be charged with offences in relation to the collapse of the toxic financial institution.
Former finance director Willie McAteer (61), of Auburn Villas, Rathgar, Dublin 6, was arrested at Rathcoole on the outskirts of Dublin.
A court heard he made no reply when charged at Bridewell garda station.
The former managing director of Irish lending, Pat Whelan (51), was arrested at his home on Coast Road, Malahide, Co Dublin, and brought to Malahide garda station.
Both men were brought to the Dublin District Court in connection with the alleged propping up of Anglo's share price and were arrested on foot of a joint investigation between the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.
Anglo was nationalised in 2009 after a share price collapse and its subsequent rescue has cost taxpayers about €30bn.
Both former directors face the same charges of giving unlawful financial assistance to 16 named persons for the purpose of, or in connection with, the purchase of shares in Anglo-Irish bank Corp PLC between July 10 and 17, 2008.
They will be back before the court on October 8. If found guilty, they face a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine of €3,174.35 per offence.
The 16 Anglo customers named on the charge sheet included Sean Quinn's wife and children and the so-called Maple Ten.
They include Sean Quinn's son, Sean Jnr -- jailed last Friday for contempt of court after trying to hide €500m of assets from the bank -- and the couple's other children Colette Marie, Aoife, Ciara and Brendan.
The charges referring to Sean Quinn's wife, Patricia, differ slightly in that the date runs from July 17-30, 2008.
Belfast property developer Paddy McKillen; auctioneer Brian O'Farrell; Mennolly Homes developer Seamus Ross; John McCabe of McCabe Builders; developer Gerry Maguire; Belfast's Patrick Kearney; Gerry Gannon of Gannon Homes, who had a stake in the K Club; Kildare businessman Jerry Conlan; Sean Reilly of the McGarrell Reilly firm; and developer Joe O'Reilly were also named as having been the recipients of allegedly unlawful financial assistance.
Mr McAteer was granted bail by Judge Cormac Dunne on €1,000 bond of his own and a €10,000 independent cash surety from his wife Maria.
He was ordered to hand in his passport and he must reside at his current address or notify the gardai 48 hours before moving home.
Mr McAteer and his wife shared a brief kiss before leaving the courthouse and departing by taxi.
Immediately afterwards, Pat Whelan came before the court, charged with the same offences. He was released on a bail bond of €1,000 and a €10,000 independent cash surety from his wife, Sharon, who was in court.
He was allowed to retain his passport as the court heard that he travels back and forth to the UK on business.
However, he must sign on every Sunday at Malahide garda station, notify the gardai if he intends to travel anywhere other than the UK and give 48 hours' notice if he intends to charge his address.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said: "It is important that due process now takes place and that nothing is said which could in any way prejudice the outcome of the criminal prosecutions that have been initiated."