FitzPatrick applies for State to pay his legal costs

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick is to apply to the State to pay his legal fees from his recent criminal trial.

FitzPatrick applies for State to pay his legal costs

Mr FitzPatrick was acquitted in March of engaging in an illegal share support scheme. His fellow Anglo directors Pat Whelan and William McAteer were convicted on 10 counts of providing illegal loans to the group of investors known as the Maple Ten to prop up the Anglo share price.

Yesterday, counsel for Mr FitzPatrick, Michael O’Higgins, asked Judge Martin Nolan to fix a date for a costs application on behalf of his client. Mr FitzPatrick, aged 65, did not attend the short hearing.

Judge Nolan put the matter back to June 5, when he will hear submissions from Mr FitzPatrick and the DPP on whether the State should pay the costs of the former chairman’s defence.

Mr FitzPatrick is seeking to be reimbursed for legal fees arising out of his trial and the extensive pre-trial hearings and depositions. His defence team comprised of a junior and senior counsel and a solicitor.

Also at yesterday’s hearing, Whelan, aged 52, applied to have the terms of his bail conditions eased.

Whelan and McAteer, aged 63, are currently awaiting sentence for their roles in the share support scheme. Judge Nolan has already indicated they will receive community service instead of a jail term on condition they are deemed suitable by the Probation Service.

They were remanded on bail until July 31 when Judge Nolan will finalise sentence.

Yesterday counsel for Whelan, Lorcan Staines, asked Judge Nolan to remove the bail condition that his client has to sign on at his local garda station at regular intervals.

Counsel also asked that Whelan be allowed leave the country without garda permission once he has met with his probation officer. Judge Nolan granted both requests after hearing the DPP had no objection.

During a further application, counsel for Mr FitzPatrick and Whelan asked the court to release trial documents so they could be used in a separate civil action they are taking in the High Court.

Aileen Donnelly, who is acting for the men in the High Court, said they are taking the action against the Matheson law firm, previously known as Matheson Ormsby Prentice.

During the criminal trial, the defendants claimed that they were given legal advice by Matheson Ormsby Prentice that the Maple Ten deal was legal. Evidence of this advice was ruled inadmissible by Judge Nolan.

Ms Donnelly asked the court to release the book of evidence, transcripts and depositions from the criminal trial so that they can be used in the civil action. Judge Nolan granted the request.

The three bankers were charged at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank.

The borrowers comprised of six members of Seán Quinn’s family and the Maple Ten investors.

Whelan also was charged with being privy to the fraudulent alteration of loan facility letters to seven individuals in October 2008.

Whelan and McAteer were convicted of providing the Maple Ten loans but acquitted of providing loans the Quinn family. Whelan was acquitted on the charges relating to the loan facility letters while Mr FitzPatrick was acquitted of all charges.

Mr FitzPatrick, of Greystones, Co Wicklow, McAteer, of Rathgar, Dublin and Whelan, of Malahide, Dublin denied all charges.

The Maple Ten transaction arose because of the need to unwind Seán Quinn’s 29.4% control of the bank which was destabilising Anglo’s share price.

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