The former An­glo chair­man has been fined ¤25,000 and had his mem­ber­ship of the Char­tered Ac­coun­tants Ire­land re­voked:

Fine put­ting former An­glo chair­man ‘to the pin of his col­lar’, says his solic­i­tor Un­der­tak­ing that Fitz­Patrick would never again ap­ply to be an ac­coun­tant

The Irish Times - - Front Page - PETER HAMIL­TON

Former An­glo Ir­ish Bank chair­man Sean Fitz­Patrick had his mem­ber­ship of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants Ire­land (CAI) re­voked and was or­dered to pay a fine of ¤25,000 af­ter a tri­bunal found he made a se­ries of fail­ures in con­ceal­ing loans be­tween An­glo and Ir­ish Na­tion­wide Build­ing So­ci­ety.

Mr Fitz­Patrick, who also pre­vi­ously led An­glo Ir­ish Bank as chief ex­ec­u­tive, ac­cepted one of the al­le­ga­tions made against him in re­spect of the tem­po­rary trans­fer of loans.

Over a nine-year pe­riod, Mr Fitz­Patrick re­fi­nanced loan fa­cil­i­ties with Ir­ish Na­tion­wide Build­ing So­ci­ety which amounted to more than ¤122 mil­lion in 2007 alone, case pre­sen­ter Ro­nan Kennedy SC said.

‘Mis­con­duct’

“Mr Fitz­Patrick’s ac­tions point to mis­con­duct rather than mis­takes,” Mr Kennedy said, ad­ding that the loan trans­fers at the time brought the Ir­ish bank­ing sys­tem into dis­re­pute. He asked the tri­bunal to make a find­ing that the con­ceal­ment of the loans con­sti­tuted a “mis­con­duct of a se­ri­ous na­ture”.

Mr Fitz­Patrick’s solic­i­tor Michael Staines said that the former An­glo chair­man “ac­cepts what he did here was in­ap­pro­pri­ate”.

“He’s ad­mit­ted it’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate and ac­cepted that the con­duct is such to bring dis­credit to him­self and the ac­coun­tancy pro­fes­sion,” Mr Staines said.

The max­i­mum fine the tri­bunal could im­pose is ¤30,000 and the max­i­mum non-fi­nan­cial sanc­tion it can im­pose is ex­clu­sion from mem­ber­ship.

Tri­bunal chair­man and former judge Tom Burgess said Mr Fitz­Patrick’s ac­tions rep­re­sented a “wil­ful fail­ure” to ad­here to stan­dards within the bank. The fact that the scheme was de­vised and per­pe­trated by Mr Fitz­Patrick when he was in a po­si­tion of trust was seen as an ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tor.

Asked if Mr Fitz­patrick could af­ford to pay more than the ¤20,000 he had of­fered to pay to­wards costs, Mr Staines noted that he “would find that ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to pay” and added the ¤20,000 was put­ting him to the pin of his col­lar.

“We have con­trol of ¤20,000 that is due to him,” Mr Staines said without go­ing into fur­ther de­tail. The tri­bunal noted that the only as­set Mr Fitz­patrick has is his pen­sion.

Last month The Ir­ish Times re­ported that Mr Fitz­Patrick and his wife Ca­tri­ona are seek­ing per­mis­sion to build a new four-bed­room house at the back of the Grey­stones home where they live.

Mr Staines also gave an un­der­tak­ing that Mr Fitz­Patrick, now aged 71, would never again ap­ply to be an ac­coun­tant.

Mr Fitz­Patrick stood down from his po­si­tion as chair­man of An­glo in December 2008. In March 2010 he was ar­rested af­ter mem­bers of the Garda fraud squad raided his home. In the same month, An­glo took le­gal ac­tion against him in an at­tempt to re­cover un­paid loans of ¤70 mil­lion. Some three months later he was de­clared bank­rupt in the High Court.

Ar­rested a se­cond time

In December 2011 Mr Fitz­Patrick was ar­rested a se­cond time by gar­daí as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into “fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties”. He was re­leased without charge. Seven months later he was ar­rested for a third time and charged with 16 of­fences re­lat­ing to his role in ad­vis­ing and lend­ing mil­lions to a golden cir­cle of in­vestors to falsely in­flate An­glo’s share price. In April 2014, he was ac­quit­ted on all

‘‘ Tri­bunal chair­man and former judge Tom Burgess said Mr Fitz­Patrick’s ac­tions rep­re­sented a ‘wil­ful fail­ure’ to ad­here to stan­dards within the bank

charges against him in re­la­tion to the Maple 10 case. In Novem­ber 2016, he again went on trial, this time ac­cused of mis­lead­ing the bank’s au­di­tors over a five-year pe­riod. The case was mired with prob­lems and Judge John Aylmer ul­ti­mately di­rected that he be ac­quit­ted.

This is the se­cond An­glo-re­lated dis­ci­plinary tri­bunal to be com­pleted by CAI’s con­duct com­mit­tee. A pre­lim­i­nary report car­ried out by former comp­trol­ler and au­di­tor gen­eral John Pur­cell in 2010 for the ac­coun­tancy body found that there were cases of li­a­bil­ity to dis­ci­plinary ac­tion re­lat­ing to former An­glo chief ex­ec­u­tive David Drumm; An­glo’s one-time fi­nance di­rec­tor Wil­lie McA­teer; former Ir­ish Life & Per­ma­nent fi­nance di­rec­tor Peter Fitz­Patrick; and Sean Fitz­Patrick. The CAI’s con­duct com­mit­tee is still due to take dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against Mr McA­teer, Peter Fitz­patrick and against An­glo’s former au­di­tors EY. CAI took its first ac­tion against An­glo’s former chief ex­ec­u­tive David Drumm last July, fin­ing him ¤15,000 and ex­pelling him for bring­ing dis­credit on him­self and his pro­fes­sion. Drumm is serv­ing a six-year prison term for con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

The Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions asked CAI’s pro­fes­sional stan­dards unit in April 2011 to hold off on var­i­ous dis­ci­plinary hear­ings pend­ing the out­come of a se­ries of crim­i­nal tri­als re­sult­ing from the col­lapse of the bank. The DPP with­drew its re­quest af­ter Mr Drumm’s crim­i­nal con­vic­tion.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: PA

Former An­glo Ir­ish Bank chair­man Sean Fitz­Patrick: “Ac­cepted that the con­duct is such to bring dis­credit to him­self and the ac­coun­tancy pro­fes­sion” his solic­i­tor said.

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