GIVEN the eventsof the last two years, to declare oneself a banker in polite conversation is akin to social suicide.
But there is a retort available to at least temper the derision coming one’s way.
“At least I’m not Sean FitzPatrick.”
There is no doubt that, to many, he is one of the country’s most unpopular men.
Therefore, there is equally no doubt that in households the length and breadth of the nation, news that the disgraced former Anglo boss is having to exist on €188 a month were greeted with little sympathy.
Yet just a few years ago, the 62 year-old was the toast of Ireland’s economy.
Indelibly linked to the rise of the Celtic Tiger, he used his position in Anglo to propel himself into the heart of the property explosion. By the time he stepped down as chief executive, the bank had reported market capitalisation of €5.1 billion.
By that point, a number of critics had already been deriding his strategy as one of providing a relatively small number of developers with huge sums of money to build properties that, in many cases, consumers and businesses could not afford in an overheated property market.
Unfortunately, the relevant people were not listening and he was able to continue his single-minded crusade from the chairman’s seat.
Few realised though, that his own personal fortune was mushrooming at almost the same rate as the bank’s during the boom.
He pumped immense sums of money into investments in Irish, European and international deals.
Just a few of those deals were a €4.2 million investment in the Somerston hotel chain in Britain in 2007, €5.5m in the Jurys Inn deal and investments in the Four Seasons in Prague, Bank of Ireland’s former head office building on Baggot Street in Dublin and a major shopping centre in Germany.
In fact, such was the catalogue of interests that he amassed, that FitzPatrick wrote off €17.5m on investments in properties and companies.
What will make it even harder for anyone to have sympathy for him was the number of interests which he has managed to retain in spite of his demise.
A full two years after the controversy surrounding him escalated, it emerged yesterday that he still has a number of properties and assets in his name.
He is still receiving €50,000 in rental income from three properties he co-owns in Bray, Dublin and Killiney, though he claims he receives less rent than the amount he is forced to pay into the properties. He still has the family home in Greystones, the holiday apartment in Marbella and property “interests” in Britain, France, Hungary, South Africa and the US. Other assets include his interests in Nigerian oil and gas firm Ekeh and with the Quinlan Property group as well as investment portfolios, including ones with a number of stockbrokers firms NCB, Davys and Goodbody’s as well as investment banks Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. The fate of all of those investments lie in the hands of others now.
The man who gave the credit and took the credit now owes it all to the creditors.
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