Civilisation may not have ended yesterday, in accordance with Mayan prophecies, but Seán FitzPatrick’s world took on a decidedly darker shade after he made another appearance before the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.
Four days before Christmas, the former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive was back before the Dublin District Court to face 12 further charges in relation to alleged financial irregularities at the bank he effectively ran for 22 years until his retirement in Dec 2008.
The 64-year-old banker, who was declared bankrupt in July 2010, appeared relaxed and tanned during a four-minute appearance in Court No 2 shortly before noon yesterday.
Det Ins Ray Kavanagh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, who is on secondment to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, gave evidence of arresting the former Anglo head at the Bridewell Garda Station at 9.04am yesterday.
Det Insp Kavanagh said Mr FitzPatrick had replied “no comment” to each of 12 charges.
They relate to making misleading, false or deceptive statements to Anglo’s auditors, Ernst & Young, on dates between 2002 and 2007 and Mr FitzPatrick’s alleged failure to disclose loans totalling €284.9m over the period contrary to Section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.
Mr FitzPatrick is accused of authorising arrangements to ensure that the balance of the loans, which ranged from a sum of €5.1m in 2002 to €139.8m in 2007 would appear temporarily to be reduced at the end of the financial year through obtaining loans from Irish Nationwide.
Each charge carries with it a maximum jail term of five years and/or a maximum fine of €12,697.
Judge Michael Walsh ordered the accused to reside at his usual address and to give gardaí 48 hours’ notice of any intention to change address or to travel outside the country. He was also ordered to sign on at Irishtown Garda Station once a week between 9am and 9pm.
Judge Walsh remanded him to appear again before the same court on Mar 1.
Dressed in a smart navy suit, light blue shirt, and dark pink tie, Mr FitzPatrick of Camaderry, Whitshed Rd, Greystones, Co Wicklow did not speak during the brief court hearing.
After being released on his own bail of €1,000, Mr FitzPatrick accompanied by his solicitor, Michael Staines, strode through a large crowd of waiting photographers without comment.
The former Anglo head is also due to face trial before a judge and jury in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court next year in relation to 16 charges where he is alleged to have authorised illegal loans to individuals including six members of the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn and a group of wealthy businessmen and developers known as the “Maple 10”.
Two other former senior executives at Anglo — Willie McAteer, the bank’s former finance director, and Pat Whelan, managing director of its Irish lending operations — are also facing 16 identical charges.
In a separate legal action, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) is suing its former auditors, Ernst & Young, over its handling of alleged transactions by Mr FitzPatrick.
The case in which the IBRC is seeking damages of €50m is due to be heard before the Commercial Court in 2013.
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