Anglo’s former finance director, like his co-accused Pat Whelan, will be getting a call from the Probation Service shortly to set up a meeting to see if he’s a good candidate to do community service in place of a prison term.
His probation officer will have to assess his “suitability and willingness” to carry out community service. At 63, he is older than the average participant but the likelihood of photographers lying in wait means he’d probably be found an indoor task washing dishes rather than cleaning graffiti in public.
That’s if he’s found to be genuinely willing to devote 40-240 hours to the public good. Given that he’s always proclaimed his innocence, that might be hard for him to swallow.
But he is unlikely to appeal his conviction in case it makes matters worse, his disqualification from acting as company director is for a short-ish five years and his high Anglo pay should have covered his legal bills so when he’s back in court on July 31, he’ll probably tell the judge: hand me the tea towel.
Anglo’s former head of lending will also be meeting a probation officer with a view to community service and the same factors come into play.
Added to that is the fact that his work as a financial consultant, which he has pursued since leaving Anglo in 2011, takes him to Britain but the Probation Service never discourages an honest day’s work so community service can be tailored around his free time.
At 52, he still has a way to go before retirement so he might be more inclined to consider appealing his case but a conviction, while it limits his ability to set up his own company for the next five years, isn’t necessarily a disadvantage in the consulting world.
Chilling companies’ bones by showing what can go wrong in high finance is arguable more valuable to them than indulging their warm, fuzzy thoughts of all that can go right. Whelan may not be in the Nick Leeson category but he could still prove a draw on the after dinner circuit.
Seánie Fitz was cleared of all charges in the trial and his bankruptcy, entered into when it was a 12-year-ordeal but reduced to three years under the recent change of law, ends in July so in some ways it’s a fresh start for the former Anglo chairman.
But he’s due back in court in October for a separate trial on 12 charges of making misleading statements to auditors.
There’s also the Oireachtas banking inquiry to think about although he won’t be called for questioning if it interferes with his appearance in court so he’s likely to be one of the last names on the inquiry’s witness list.
He has legal bills — some estimates put them at €1m — for his defence team at his trial so that’s also something the now 64-year-old will have to think about between tees during his much-loved games of golf.
Coming soon to a banking inquiry near you. The former financial regulator wasn’t actually on trial but the judge’s strongest criticisms were reserved for his faltering testimony and his failure to block the illegal loans issued by the defendants.
Giving details of the yet-to-be formally established inquiry yesterday, Public Enterprise Minister Brendan Howlin said the regulation of banks would be the key issue to be probed.
“People will really want to know how comfort was given to people to make decisions in the way they did and how the oversight system so patently failed.” He added that the committee would have “absolute compellability“.
Translated, that means Mr Neary would be advised to spend some of his €120,000 a year pension on an orthopaedic cushion for the many days he’s likely to face in the hot seat later this year.
The former Anglo chief executive is facing two major legal actions in two different jurisdictions.
First up is his bankruptcy hearing in the US where he has lived since late 2008.
It’s scheduled to start on May 21 when his self-sought bankruptcy will be challenged on the grounds of claims that he tried to hide assets. If those claims are proven correct, he could face criminal prosecution and jail time in the US.
Back home, a file on him has been with the DPP since 2011 and it is expected a move will be made soon to formally issue charges against him that would lead to an extradition attempt.
If extradited, Drumm, the architect of the illegal loan scheme, would rely heavily on the “Neary defence” ie the regulator didn’t stop me.
The Anglo trial may have been much anticipated for but deep-layered complexity, colourful characters and high stakes public involvement, the Quinn Family versus The State will be the must-attend hearing of the decade.
Technically, it is his offspring who are making the running on the €2.3bn claim against Anglo/IBRC, the Department of Finance and the financial regulator but this is a case of the Quinn empire strikes back and the man behind it will never be far from view.
The family are pushing for a hearing date to be set without further delay after preparations for the proceedings were stalled for fear of prejudicing the trial of the Anglo Three.
The Quinnfather, 67, will be discharged from bankruptcy next January but that’s not likely to soften his mood which has been thunderous since the Anglo debacle.
“I was furious and I’m still furious,” he told the Anglo trial. Expect the case to be fiercely contested. Expect it to cost a fortune in legal fees.