A jury has acquitted the former finance director of Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) of helping Anglo Irish Bank defraud the markets in 2008 in a €7.2bn scheme.

Jurors at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday returned a not guilty verdict on Peter Fitzpatrick, aged 63, following nearly 47 hours of deliberations.

Mr Fitzpatrick held his head in his hands and wept after the verdict was read out, before hugging his barrister, Brendan Grehan.

Deliberations are continuing on the only remaining accused on the indictment, Denis Casey, aged 56, who was formerly CEO of IL&P.

Judge Martin Nolan acceded to a defence application to discharge Mr Fitzpatrick from the indictment, as his family embraced and cried.

On Wednesday the jury convicted Anglo’s former head of capital markets, John Bowe, aged 52, and the bank’s then finance director, Willie McAteer, aged 65, who were accused of conspiring to mislead investors, depositors and lenders about the true health of Anglo. They have been remanded on bail, pending sentence, until July 25.

John Bowe and Willie McAteer
John Bowe and Willie McAteer

Bowe, from Glasnevin, Dublin and McAteer of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Mr Casey, from Raheny, Dublin, and Mr Fitzpatrick, of Convent Lane, Portmarnock, Dublin had all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to mislead investors by setting up a €7.2bn circular transaction scheme between March 1 and September 30, 2008, to bolster Anglo’s balance sheet.

The prosecution case was that the four were involved in a setting up a scheme of billion-euro transactions where Anglo lent money to IL&P and IL&P sent the money back, via their assurance firm Irish Life Assurance, to Anglo.

The scheme was designed so that the deposits came from the assurance company and would be treated as customer deposits, considered a better measure of a bank’s strength than inter-bank loans.

The €7.2bn deposit was later accounted for in Anglo’s preliminary results on December 3, 2008, as part of Anglo’s customer deposits figure.

Denis Casey
Denis Casey

The prosecution alleged that the entire objective of the scheme was to mislead anybody reading Anglo’s accounts by artificially inflating the customer deposits number from €44bn to €51bn, a difference of 16%.

Mr McAteer was Anglo’s director of finance and Mr Bowe was head of capital markets in the bank’s treasury department. Their lawyers argued that their clients believed the deposits were real deposits and were accounted for correctly on Anglo’s balance sheet.

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