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Former bank director acquitted of part in €7.2 billion scheme

Peter Fitzpatrick was appearing before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this afternoon.

Peter Fitzpatrick pictured outside of court today
Peter Fitzpatrick pictured outside of court today
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A JURY HAS acquitted the former finance director of Irish Life and Permanent of helping Anglo Irish Bank defraud the markets in 2008 in a €7.2 billion scheme.

Jurors at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court returned a not guilty verdict for Peter Fitzpatrick, 63, this afternoon following nearly 47 hours deliberating. Mr Fitzpatrick held his head in his hands and wept after the verdict was read out before hugging his barrister, Brendan Grehan SC.

Deliberations are continuing on the only remaining accused on the indictment, Denis Casey, 56, who was formerly the CEO of ILP.

Judge Martin Nolan acceded to a defence application to discharge Mr Fitzpatrick from the indictment while his family embraced and cried.

On Wednesday the jury convicted Anglo’s former head of capital markets, John Bowe, 52, and the bank’s then finance director, Willie McAteer, 65, who were accused of conspiring to mislead investors, depositors and lenders about the true health of Anglo. They have been remanded on bail pending sentence until 25 July next.

Bowe from Glasnevin, Dublin and McAteer of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary, Mr Casey, 56, from Raheny, Dublin and Mr Fitzpatrick, 63, of Convent Lane, Portmarnock, Dublin had all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to mislead investors by setting up a €7.2 billion circular transaction scheme between 1 March and 30 September, 2008 to bolster Anglo’s balance sheet.

The prosecution case was that the four men were involved in a setting up a circular scheme of billion euro transactions where Anglo lent money to ILP and ILP sent the money back, via their assurance firm Irish Life Assurance, to Anglo.

The scheme was designed so that the deposits came from the assurance company and would be treated as customer deposits, which are considered a better measure of a bank’s strength than inter-bank loans.

The €7.2 billion deposit was later accounted for in Anglo’s preliminary results on 3 December 2008 as part of Anglo’s customer deposits figure. The prosecution alleged that the entire objective of the scheme was to mislead anybody reading Anglo’s accounts by artificially inflating the customer deposits number from €44bn to €51bn, a difference of 16%.

Mr McAteer was Anglo’s director of finance and Mr Bowe was head of capital markets in the bank’s Treasury department. Their lawyers had argued that their clients believed that the deposits were real deposits and were accounted for correctly on Anglo’s balance sheet and so no fraud was carried out.

Lawyers defending former ILP chief executive Mr Casey and his then finance director argued that their clients had no control over how Anglo would account for the deposits and had no intention to mislead the public.

Comments on this article have been turned off as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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About the author:

Declan Brennan and Conor Gallagher

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