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Former regulator played golf with Anglo executives

FORMER Anglo Irish Bank boss Sean FitzPatrick played golf with Patrick Neary shortly before he became Financial Regulator.

According to further details in 'The FitzPatrick Tapes', Mr FitzPatrick and Anglo's former group finance director and chief risk officer Willie McAteer played at least three games of golf with Mr Neary between 2005 and 2006.

But in an interview with the Irish Independent last night, Mr Neary said he believed he had not played any golf with Mr FitzPatrick after his appointment as Financial Regulator in February 2006.

"I was appointed CEO in 2006 but I certainly wouldn't have played golf with him after that. They were very much social events," he said.

Mr Neary said he had been playing golf with bank executives like Mr FitzPatrick as far back as the late 1980s through the Irish Bankers Golfing Association -- when he was then working in the Irish Central Bank. Mr Neary said he had not taken part in such events after 2006 because of the "perception of the thing" and his increased workload.

Mr FitzPatrick, who also played a full round of golf with Taoiseach Brian Cowen in July 2008 in Druids Glen, said they did "not really" discuss Anglo when golfing with the regulators. "We were very aware that they were our regulators so we wouldn't try to do anything with them," he said. "It was a game of golf, a meal, no drinks. Drive home."

Mr Neary resigned in January 2009 after declaring that he was personally unaware of the scale of Mr FitzPatrick's personal loans from Anglo Irish Bank -- even though his office had been kept informed about them for the previous seven years.

He received a €630,000 golden handshake and a €143,000-a-year state pension.

Both Mr FitzPatrick and Mr McAteer were arrested for questioning last year by gardai in relation to alleged financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank. They were released without charge.

Irish Independent