27th July 2012
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
In another victory for those who would like to see criminals held responsible for their crimes, Sean FitzPatrick, former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, was arrested and charged with 16 counts related to secret loans provided in an attempt to prop up the stock price.
The activity of 64-year-old FitzPatrick is quite serious indeed since, as the Associated Press points out it was “a conspiracy to hide colossal losses at the bank that brought the nation to the brink of bankruptcy.”
FitzPatrick was charged under Section 60 of the Companies Act after being arrested in Dublin airport over his scheme to give out loans to 16 people who would then buy shares in Anglo Irish Bank.
The individuals involved include Patricia Quinn and her five children along with ten top clients of the bank who are now known as the “Maple 10.”
Unfortunately, it does not look like the court is going to be treating the case all that seriously as they already let him out on â‚¬1,000 bail – with an additional â‚¬10,000 surety and did not even confiscate his passport.
He is even still allowed to leave the country, provided he give the police notice 48 hours ahead of time.
When he was arrested by Detective Sergeant Brian Mahon of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, on secondment to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, he replied “no comment” to every one of the 16 charges.
When he was being arrested, the detective asked him if he understood that he was being arrested under a section of the criminal law for an arrestable offense, to which FitzPatrick replied, “I do.”
He was silent during the entire hearing at the Dublin District Court and FitzPatrick is now awaiting his October 8 court date.
Michael Staines, FitzPatrick’s solicitor, told the court that when FitzPatrick was made aware of the fact that the police were looking for him, he contacted his solicitor in order to organize a meeting.
This might be why FitzPatrick was given relatively light treatment by the court, especially for a case involving 16 criminal counts and an individual with considerable resources at hand.
Other former senior executives with Anglo Irish Bank were also charged, including Willie McAteer and Patrick Whelan.
If convicted, all of the three men could spend a maximum of five years in prison. Some might say that this is far from enough seeing as FitzPatrick and his cronies were abusing the lack of banking regulations in order to fund Ireland’s largest risk takers in the property speculation sector.
“But most of the Irish lenders’ cash was borrowed cheaply from British, German, American and French banks and hedge funds on the promise of future property appreciation,” writes the Associated Press. “That risky strategy crumbled as foreign lenders pulled back from Ireland amid the global 2008 credit crunch.”
While FitzPatrick continued to claim publicly that Anglo Irish Bank’s property portfolio was safe and the bank was only experiencing transient problems with short-term financing and a loss of confidence, the situation was actually far worse.
The truth began to come out in early 2009 when investigators discovered deceptive accounting practices and insider loans issued in an attempt to obfuscate how serious the situation actually was.
Anglo Irish Bank’s losses were so incredibly large that it required a bailout from the European-International Monetary Fund in 2010 since Ireland couldn’t even begin to cover the rescue effort.
How such an act with such unimaginably large repercussions could only result in a maximum of five years in prison is beyond me but at least we’re seeing some justice had, no matter how minor it may seem.
Watch RTE’s news coverage below
For more on the rash of resignations, arrests and other tumultuous stories in the banking industry written by Madison click here.
About the Author
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at [email protected]