Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Ex-bank chairman cleared of fraud

Pat Whelan pleaded not guilty to providing unlawful financial assistance to a hand-picked group of clients

The former chairman of the defunct Anglo Irish Bank has been cleared of all fraud charges over a loans-for-shares scheme months before the bank collapsed in January 2009.

Sean FitzPatrick, 65, from Greystones, Co Wicklow, denied providing unlawful financial assistance to a select group of clients to buy shares in the bank in July 2008 as the stock value tanked.

The jury will resume deliberations on two other directors Pat Whelan, 51, of Malahide, Co Dublin, and William McAteer, 63, of Rathgar, Dublin, over the provision of 619 million euro of loans for a group of investors dubbed the Maple 10 and the family of bankrupt former industrialist Sean Quinn.

The deal was allegedly concocted to unwind a secret stock market punt by Mr Quinn who borrowed hundreds of millions from Anglo to cover losses on the doomed investment.

Twelve jurors returned the majority verdict in the landmark trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court - the first prosecution connected to the collapse of Anglo, regarded as the bank that brought Ireland's economy to its knees.

FitzPatrick shook hands with his legal team in the courtroom after his acquittal on 10 counts.

In a statement outside the courts complex, Mr FitzPatrick thanked his family, friends, legal team and the jury.

"First of all I would like to thank my wife, my two sons and my daughter, and my sisters who have supported me not only during this trial but for the past six years of great personal difficulties," he said.

"I would like also especially to thank the women and men of the jury who have found me not guilty of all charges."

He added: "To all my friends who have stood by me in particular two very special friends, I will always be truly grateful for their support during this very difficult time.

"I now simply ask that the courtesy extended to me and my family during the trial by the media be maintained and the privacy of my family which has been intruded on over the past six years will now cease."

Mr FitzPatrick said it would be inappropriate to take questions and walked to a waiting taxi.

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