Seán FitzPatrick not guilty on all counts in Anglo trial

Wednesday 16 April 2014 21.59
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Seán FitzPatrick speaking to the media outside the court
Seán FitzPatrick speaking to the media outside the court
Mr FitzPatrick leaves court after being found not guilty on all counts
Mr FitzPatrick leaves court after being found not guilty on all counts

The jury in the Anglo Irish Bank trial has returned not guilty verdicts on all counts against the bank's former chairman Seán FitzPatrick.

Mr FitzPatrick, 65, of Greystones, Co Wicklow, had denied giving unlawful financial assistance to ten customers of the bank to buy Anglo shares in July 2008.

Jurors have been sent home and will resume deliberating tomorrow on the charges against two former bank executives, Pat Whelan and William McAteer.

Speaking outside the court, Mr FitzPatrick thanked his family and friends for supporting him during the past few years of "great personal difficulty".

He said: "First of all, I would like to thank my wife, my two sons and my daughter and my sister, who have supported me, not only during this trial, but for the past six years of great personal difficultly.

"I would of course especially like to thank my legal team; solicitor Michael Staines, Senior Counsel Michael O'Higgins, Junior Counsel John Fitzgerald and Gavin McCormack for their dedication and hard work.

"I would like also to especially thank the women and men of the jury who found me not guilty of all charges. 

"To all my friends, who have stood by me and in particular two very special friends, I will always be truly grateful for their support during this very difficult time. 

"I now simply ask that the courtesy, which has been extended to me and my family during this trial by the media, will be maintained and the privacy of my family which has been intruded on over the past six years will now cease." 

The jury had been deliberating for more than 14 hours since last Friday.

Mr FitzPatrick along with Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan were charged with breaching Section 60 of the Companies Act 1963 by lending money to investors to buy shares in Anglo.

Mr Whelan and Mr McAteer 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.

The prosecution had alleged the loans, which were part of a scheme to unwind businessman Seán Quinn's holding in the bank, were illegal.

They said Mr FitzPatrick knew about the lending and did nothing to stop it. He had denied the charges.

His lawyers told the court he was the only non-executive director to face criminal charges and had been singled out for prosecution as the face of Anglo.

After the verdicts, Mr FitzPatrick shook hands with his co-accused and his lawyers before being formally released from the court.

The jury will resume deliberations on the counts against Mr Whelan, 51, of Malahide, Dublin and Mr McAteer, 63, of Rathgar, Dublin in the morning.

Judge Martin Nolan earlier told the seven women and five men that they could bring in a verdict on which at least ten of them agreed.

At an earlier stage in the trial, the jury were ordered to acquit Mr Whelan and Mr FitzPatrick of a series of related counts.

The Maple Ten deal was designed to unwind the 29.4% control of the bank that Mr Quinn had built up through investment tools known as Contracts for Difference (CFDs).

The ten investors were loaned a total of €450m by Anglo to buy around 10% of the shares that Mr Quinn controlled.

Mr Quinn's wife and five children were also loaned €169m to buy nearly 15% of the stock.