The man who brought down the Irish banking system has been released from police custody – but Sean FitzPatrick could now face charges in Ireland’s biggest ever fraud investigation.
The former Anglo Irish Bank chairman and chief executive was released on Saturday afternoon, 24 hours after he was arrested for a second time by Irish police.
FitzPatrick was questioned for the maximum 24 hours allowed under Irish law when he faced allegations of wrongdoing at the now defunct bank.
Anglo’s demise will cost the taxpaper over $50billion before the mess FitzPatrick left behind him is cleaned up.
Reports in the Sunday newspapers say that the one time high-flier was ‘grumpy’ as he shared a cell in a Wicklow police station with a collection of Friday night drunks and miscreants.
A police spokesman confirmed after his release that a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Anglo boss refused to speak to the media as he was escorted out of the Bray station after questioning by police officers and investigators from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby.
The Irish Times has reported that FitzPatrick was questioned as ‘part of investigations into allegations that Anglo Irish Bank had misled auditors in the compilation of end of year financial statements’.
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The paper also reports that police and the corporate enforcement agency are investigating three issues at Anglo.
- The concealment of loans owing by Mr FitzPatrick which were transferred off the books of Anglo using short-term loans from Irish Nationwide Building Society over an eight-year period.
- The lodgment of €7.45 billion in short-term deposits by Irish Life and Permanent into Anglo over its financial year-end in September 2008
- The so-called golden circle share transaction in which 10 long-standing clients of Anglo purchased a 10 per cent stake in the bank – using loans from the bank – from businessman Seán Quinn.
Police and government sources have both said that their investigation into practices at Anglo is very close to completion.