Former Anglo Irish banking chiefs arrested
Three of Ireland's top bankers charged with criminal offenses
After a complicated investigation of more than three years, three of Ireland’s former top bankers were this week charged with criminal offenses.
More high-ranking bankers, including Massachusetts-based former Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm, could be included in later prosecutions in an investigation which started in February 2009.
The first people charged, former Anglo finance director Willie McAteer and ex-managing director Patrick Whelan, were arrested on Monday, one at his home and one on a road into Dublin.
Shortly after 5:35 a.m. on Tuesday morning, former chairman and chief executive of Anglo Irish Sean Fitzpatrick was arrested by arrangement at Dublin Airport when he returned on a flight from the U.S.
All three have been charged with 16 offenses of alleged financial irregularities at the bank.
The 16 charges relate to loans advanced to 10 millionaire developers and the wife and five children of Sean Quinn, once Ireland’s richest man, in July 2008.
The 10 developers, called the Maple 10, were named in court as Paddy McKillen, Seamus Ross, Brian O’Farrell, John McCabe, Gerard Maguire, Patrick Kearney, Gerard Conlon, Gerard Gannon, Sean Reilly and Joseph O’Reilly.
Anglo made the illicit loans to prop up its share price and, in turn, public confidence in the bank and prevent the bank shares from collapsing.
The three now charged could face up to five years in jail for each charge as well as heavy cash fines.
Investigators believe a total of €1.1 billion was advanced to the Maple 10 and the Quinn family so they would, in turn, buy shares in the bank.
It is illegal for a company to use its own money to support its share price, save in limited circumstances.
The Maple deal was allegedly put together after top executives at Anglo discovered that Quinn had made a massive punt on Anglo shares, and it was rapidly going sour.
There were fears that Quinn would be forced to sell his shares on the open market at rock bottom prices and that would panic other investors and wipe out the remaining value of the bank stock. That’s the kernel of the plot which investigators hope to successfully prosecute in court.
Fitzpatrick, 64, was arrested on Tuesday by Gardai (police) attached to the Office of the Director Corporate Enforcement and taken to the Bridewell Garda station in central Dublin.
Detective Sergeant Brian Mahon told the court that FitzPatrick, who lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, was charged at 8:08 a.m. and replied “no comment” to each charge.
There was no objection to bail and FitzPatrick was ordered to sign on every Wednesday at Irishtown Garda station in south Dublin and to give Gardai 48 hours notice if he plans to leave the state.
Looking tanned and dressed in a dark blazer, blue shirt, pink tie and beige trousers, Fitzpatrick remained seated and silent with his hands on his lap as he looked at the judge who was taking down notes detailing his arrest.
He spoke once, saying “thank you” after the judge agreed to release him on bail. His sister Joyce O’Connor stood bail in the sum of €10,000.
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