Jury deliberations set to resume again today
TRIAL OF FORMER ANGLO EXECUTIVES
THE JURY will today ( Wednesday) resume its deliberations in the trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank executives accused of illegally lending money to buy shares in the bank.
The case has lasted 10 weeks and involved 53 witnesses.
Former Anglo chairman Sean Fitzpatrick and ex-directors William McAteer and Pat Whelan, are charged at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court with breaching Section 60 of the Companies Act 1963 by lending money to investors to buy shares in Anglo.
Whelan (51) of Malahide, Dublin and McAteer ( 63) of Rathgar, Dublin are accused of 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 Maple Ten group of investors.
Fitzpatrick ( 65), from Greystones, is charged with 10 counts of loaning money to the Maple Ten.
On Wednesday last, the jury in the trial was directed to find Fitzpatrick not guilty on six additional counts relating to the Quinn family.
The jury were also directed to find former Anglo Head of Lending in Ireland Pat Whelan not guilty on another seven charges. These counts alleged that he was privy to the alteration of loan facility letters to seven individuals in October 2008.
In his closing speech Michael O'Higgins SC, defending Sean Fitzpatrick, said the Anglo transaction was like ‘1916 in reverse'.
‘ When the lads were taken out of the GPO at first they were spat upon and jeered at by the people,' he said, ‘and only when they were executed did they become heroes'.
Mr. O'Higgins said that when the Anglo deal was done, everybody was ‘gloriously happy' at first, but then the climate changed. Mr O'Higgins told the jurors that if they decide the loan was in the ordinary course of business, they must acquit Mr Fitzpatrick.
If they decide it wasn't, they must decide on what basis it wasn't, for example the alleged ‘ trickiness' of the paperwork or the 25 per cent recourse on the loan.
Mr. O'Higgins said the prosecution has conceded that the paperwork was beyond his client's control. He also claimed there is no evidence suggesting Fitzpatrick was aware of the 25 per cent personal recourse enjoyed by the Maple Ten.
Before the jury started its deliberations Judge Martin Nolan spent over an hour addressing the jury on legal issues and on the facts of the case.
Judge Nolan told jurors that they must have ‘moral courage' and leave any prejudices at the courtroom door. He said some would say Anglo ‘is the most famous or infamous bank in this country' but the jurors must try the case on the evidence only.
The Maple Ten deal was designed to unwind the 29.4 per cent control of the bank which businessman Sean Quinn had built up through investment tools known as Contracts for Difference (CFDs).
The ten investors were loaned a total of €450 million by Anglo to buy around 10 per cent of the shares which Mr Quinn controlled. Mr Quinn's wife and five children were also loaned €169 million to buy nearly 15 per cent of the stock.