Lenihan not aware of Anglo loan extension to FitzPatrick

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan was not aware of a multi-million euro loan extension granted by Anglo to a company part- owned by its former chief executive, Seán FitzPatrick, on the same day the troubled bank was nationalised.

On January 21, 2009 — the day laws were enacted to put the bank into state ownership at a cost of €22 billion to the taxpayer — Anglo topped up a loan for Mr FitzPatrick’s property company to buy a plush €10.25 million villa in the French Riviera.

The Department of Finance was not made aware of the bank’s decision to top up a €14.6m loan with a further €2.6m.

The company drew down almost €17m of the €17.2m made available by Anglo.

A spokesperson said the minister did not get involved in any change of loans until July 2009 when a relationship framework between the bank and the department came into effect.

He pointed out that all borrowings by the now bankrupt Mr FitzPatrick are under investigation by the Financial Regulator and the Gardaí are also involved in an inquiry into transactions at the bank.

The increased loan facility was granted by Anglo Irish Bank to SCI Saint Roche, a property rental company in the south of France part-owned by Mr FitzPatrick.

He is reported to have resigned from the board of the company on March 12 this year — a day before he first went to the High Court in an effort to get protection from creditors.

Mr FitzPatrick was declared bankrupt earlier this month with liabilities of almost €150m.

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan yesterday said she could not comment because there is an ongoing investigation by the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Asked whether the latest revelations will be included in that investigation she said: “We are working through a process with the Oireachtas joint committee... looking at how the further investigation into the banking system will progress.”

On January 20, 2009, when the nationalisation was being debated in the Dáil, Mr Lenihan said the decision was taken “in the national interest and has been taken to safeguard the economic future of the country and the continued viability of our financial institutions”.


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