Anglo trial profile: Willie McAteer - Numbers man travelled world selling Anglo story

William McAteer: His department was responsible for accounting the transactions on the bank's balance sheet.

Donegal native Willie McAteer graduated from UCD with a BA in commerce and a master’s in business studies.

He went on to qualify as a chartered accountant and then as a member of the Irish Tax Institute.

After becoming a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), McAteer went on to become managing director of Paul Coulson’s Yeoman International Leasing, a venture capital lending firm.

In March 1992, he had being made redundant from Yeoman. He was offered a job by Seán FitzPatrick, then chief executive of up-and-coming Anglo Irish Bank and a man he knew one from his tenure in PWC.

As finance director, Mr McAteer was there for a 15-year stretch of continuous growth and expansion as Anglo became Ireland’s third-biggest bank, with interests in North America, the UK and eastern Europe.

McAteer slotted into the role of a keen numbers man travelled frequently selling the Anglo story to international investors.

He was also appointed to the board of executive directors and attended all meetings, although he was not at the meeting in December 2008 at which Mr FitzPatrick resigned.

When David Drumm was appointed as an inexperienced chief executive of Anglo in 2005, he relied on McAteer to introduce him to key investors.

During the Drumm era, the bank doubled in size and McAteer was given responsibility for risk as well as finance.

In this role, Matt Moran reported to him as his chief financial officer. Mr Moran, who was granted immunity by the State in the this trial, was seen as McAteer’s heir apparent.

During the summer of 2008, McAteer attending some of the weekly “funding initiative” meetings held on Friday afternoon in Mr Drumm’s office.

During these meetings, up to 30 different plans designed to increase deposits into the bank were discussed but by September all but the ILP plan had fallen away.

McAteer told gardaí that he was aware of the ILP deal but not of the mechanics of it.

The trial heard that his main role in the transaction was, as chief risk officer, signing off on the credit excess required to allow the deals to go through the bank’s system.

David Drumm
David Drumm

The €7.2bn deal was €6.7bn in excess of the normal credit limits.

He would have also sat in on meetings Anglo’s audit committee, which approved how the deal was presented in Anglo’s preliminary results.

On January 7, 2009, McAteer resigned from Anglo Irish Bank. Detective Sergeant Catharina Gunne from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation told the trial that on March 24, 2010, she went to McAteer’s then family home in Auburn Villas, Rathgar, and arrested the accused.

McAteer’s department, finance, was the department responsible for accounting the transactions in the bank’s balance sheet.

He denied to gardaí that the €7.2bn deposits were created for the purpose of creating a false impression as to the health of the bank and told investigators that the accounts reflected the actual transaction.

Lawyers for McAteer told the jurors that if they accepted that McAteer believed that the deals were properly accounted for, this was not a view consistent with dishonesty or a conspiracy to defraud.

They also argued that it was inconceivable that he would be a part of a conspiracy in the knowledge that all of these things were going to be one run before the entirety of many emanations of the State, including the Department of Finance and the Central Bank.

Editorial: 16

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