Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Acquitted Anglo Irish Bank chief Sean FitzPatrick left with legal bill of €1m

The former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean FitzPatrick, speaking to the media outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin after being found not guilty of all charges in relation to the bank's collapse

Insurers refused to cover the legal costs of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick, who walked free from court this week and now faces a legal bill of up to €1m (£820,000).

Mr FitzPatrick, an undischarged bankrupt, did not seek legal aid for the case involving loans to Co Fermanagh former billionaire Sean Quinn's family after he secretly bought a major stake in the bank and the price tanked.

His defence was privately funded after he was refused directors and officers liability (D&O) cover.

D&O cover was also refused to William McAteer – Anglo Irish Bank's former head of risk – who was unanimously found guilty by a jury of providing illegal loans to the so-called Maple 10 group of borrowers.

Pat Whelan, Anglo's former head of lending, was also convicted of providing illegal loans to the Maple 10.

Mr Whelan's defence costs were covered by a D&O insurance policy, but he could face a civil action to recover the fees in light of his convictions.

Before it was nationalised by the Irish government in January 2009, Anglo Irish Bank indemnified its directors and other officers, but that was changed.

Mr Whelan and Mr McAteer – who were found not guilty of providing illegal loans to Mr Quinn's wife and five adult children – are facing a maximum of up to five years in prison for the Maple 10 convictions.

Mr FitzPatrick, who was found not guilty by the jury of providing unlawful financial assistance to the Maple 10, was acquitted by direction of trial judge Martin Nolan of giving illegal loans to the Quinns due to lack of evidence.

The sentence hearing of Mr Whelan and Mr McAteer will take place on April 28 next year.

There was no objection to Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan remaining on continuing bail until the sentence date.

The Maple 10 deal was designed to unwind the 29.4% control of the bank which businessman Sean Quinn had built up through investment tools known as Contracts for Difference (CFDs).

The 10 investors were lent a total of €450m (£370m) by Anglo to buy a portion of the shares which Mr Quinn controlled.

Mr Quinn's wife and five children were also lent €169m (£139m) to buy nearly 15% of the stock.