Former board member ‘horrified’ at Seán Quinn’s bank stake

A former Anglo Irish Bank board member was “horrified” when she discovered that businessman Seán Quinn controlled nearly a quarter of the bank’s shares.

Anne Heraty told the trial of three former Anglo executives she and the rest of the board were concerned that Mr Quinn intended to take over the bank when they found out in September 2007.

The former non-executive director also said that in July 2008 she was told by Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick that “10 high net worth individuals” would be buying 9.7% of Anglo’s shares in an attempt to unwind Mr Quinn’s stake in the bank. She only discovered their identities when they were leaked to the newspapers after the bank was nationalised in 2009.

Ms Heraty said she believed the Financial Regulator approved of this deal and had been putting pressure on the bank to deal with the Quinn issue.

Mr FitzPatrick and fellow ex-directors WilliamMcAteer and Pat Whelan, are accused of providing funding for the purchase of its own shares in contravention of the 1963 Companies Act. The three accused have been 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 16 individuals are six members of the Quinn family and the so called “Maple Ten” group of investors.

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

Mr FitzPatrick, 65, of Greystones, Co Wicklow, Mr McAteer, 63, of Rathgar, Dublin, and Mr Whelan, 51, of Malahide, Dublin, have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The court heard Ms Heraty is the founder and CEO of CPL Resources, a recruitment firm quoted on the stock exchange. As well serving on Anglo’s board, she has also served on the boards of The Irish Stock Exchange, Bord na Mona and Forfas.

Another witness told how Mr Quinn continued to gamble on Anglo’s stock after the share price started to collapse.

Shane Morrison was the former Financial Planning Director with Quinn Insurance and was involved in investing in the stock market on behalf of the Cavan businessman.

Mr Morrison said Mr Quinn had generated a large amount of cash through his manufacturing business and wanted to use this to invest in the stock market.

Mr Quinn set up a company called Bazelly to invest in CFDs. The sole beneficiaries of the company, based in Madeira, Portugal, were Mr Quinn’s five children.

Mr Morrison said Mr Quinn was heavily involved in the investment strategy of Bazelly and would consult with its operations several times a week. Aside from Anglo, the businessman invested in large oil stocks, European banks, Tullow Oil and Ryanair.

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