No extra jail for ex-Anglo executive Willie McAteer

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Willie McAteer will not serve any extra time in prison for receiving a fraudulent loan in September 2008 in order to keep the bank from failing.

No extra jail for ex-Anglo executive Willie McAteer

Imposing a sentence of two and a half years, Judge Martin Nolan said survival was the main motivating factor in the fraud trade. McAteer, then director of finance at the bank, obtained the €8m loan as the bank was on the brink of collapse.

McAteer is already serving a three-and-a-half-year prison term imposed in July 2016 for his part in a separate €7.2bn fraud. The latest sentence will run alongside this.

Last month, McAteer, aged 66, of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co Tipperary, pleaded guilty to obtaining a loan of €8m from Anglo on September 29, 2008, which he secured against his shares in the bank. He then used the money to pay off a personal loan he obtained from Bank of Ireland.

The loan was formulated by Anglo’s executive board of directors to prevent the Anglo shares being sold off, which would have further damaged confidence in the bank. The maximum penalty available for the offence of fraudulent trading was seven years in prison and a €63,486 fine.

Imposing a sentence of two and a half years, Judge Nolan said that, at the time, McAteer and other executives in the bank were under considerable pressure and their whole ambition was survival.

He said that McAteer was a self-made man who came from a modest background and studied hard and worked very hard. He said McAteer was, at one point, an extremely wealthy and successful man.

Judge Nolan said McAteer will be an impoverished man when he gets out of prison and will live in modest circumstances. He said it is highly unlikely he will reoffend.

Taking his age and personal circumstances into consideration he said it would be unjust to impose a sentence consecutive to the one he is already serving. He ordered the sentence to start from yesterday.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending McAteer, said his client was supposed to retire before the bank started to collapse but that he delayed his retirement and stayed on because his help was needed at the bank.

He said that, if he had retired at the right time, he would have done so “with great advantages and a good amount of money”.

Counsel said the offences resulted in no loss to the bank. He said there were no more pending charges against McAteer and that this case would mark “a poor end to his career.”

Last week, Pat Whelan, the bank’s former director of lending, was fined €3,000 for failing to keep a proper record of the fraudulent €8m loan to McAteer.

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