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'I didn't approve Golden Circle deal but I knew of it'

FORMER Anglo chief Sean FitzPatrick insisted he did not approve the scheme to get 10 of Anglo's biggest customers to buy Sean Quinn's shares in the bank -- but cryptically said he didn't "disapprove" it either.

In 'The FitzPatrick Tapes', Mr FitzPatrick admitted he was aware of the deal involving what the book calls the 'Maple 10' -- also known as the 'Anglo 10' or 'Golden Circle' of investors -- but claims he didn't discuss the names of the 10 Anglo clients with his successor David Drumm at the time.

"I was aware because I got the phone call," he said.

"Approved? I didn't say to David, 'That is a lousy plan, you can't do that.'"

Anglo's former chairman claims he only found out after he returned from abroad that Anglo had given the 10 investors €1.5bn to buy the Quinn stake.

He also claims he didn't know the names of the individuals who were making these investments.

The 'Maple 10' included developers Gerry Gannon, Seamus Ross, John McCabe and Sean Reilly.

Mr FitzPatrick also claimed he was not aware of the depths of the bank's funding problems at that time.

He also talks about a meeting with Mr Quinn once the extent of his exposure to the bank had become a huge problem for himself and Anglo and they were trying to force him to reduce his stake.

He recalls being left alone with Mr Quinn for 20 minutes.

"It wasn't easy for him," he said of Mr Quinn. "It was bad for him. It was a bad day for the bank, it was a bad day for everyone. It was a big call. It was a big, big call. They all left the room and they left him with me. He was very close to tears. He could see what was happening."

Irish Independent