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Former Anglo chair Sean Fitzpatrick fined €25k and expelled from Chartered Accountants Ireland

A disciplinary tribunal heard that the former Anglo Irish Bank chair had committed “misconduct of a serious nature”.

Former Anglo chair Sean Fitzpatrick
Former Anglo chair Sean Fitzpatrick
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE FORMER CHAIRPERSON of Anglo Irish Bank Sean Fitzpatrick has been expelled from being a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and has accepted not to make an application to be reinstated.

It comes after a disciplinary tribunal meeting today where the institute said Fitzpatrick accepted the facts of a formal complaint brought against him by the institute’s conduct committee.

That complaint followed an opinion expressed by the special investigator appointed by Chartered Accountants Ireland that Fitzpatrick’s actions regarding the “concealment of loans over a period of time by their temporary transfer and related actions” at Anglo Irish Bank “constituted misconduct of a serious nature likely to bring discredit to himself and/or [the organisation], and/or the profession”.

“The fact that Mr FitzPatrick was Chief Executive or Chairman of the Bank over the period of concealment adds to the gravity of this misconduct,” according to special investigator John Purcell, Chartered Accounts Ireland said today.

In 2017, a judge ordered that Fitzpatrick be found not guilty of hiding millions of euro in loans from auditors

The prosecution alleged that the amount of loans connected to FitzPatrick was artificially reduced for a period of two weeks around the bank’s financial end of year statement by short-term loans from other sources, including Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Described as “refinancing” this practice was also known as “bed-and-breakfasting” or “warehousing”, as the loans would be allegedly put into short term storage.

During legal argument, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard there was nothing illegal about the loans arrangement.

Judge John Aylmer had said that the investigation, carried out by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), fell short of an unbiased, impartial and balanced investigation that an accused is entitled to.

‘Gravity of this conduct’

Chartered Accountants Ireland said today it had originally appointed its special investigator to consider matters relating to Anglo Irish Bank and whether these matters may mean Fitzpatrick was liable for disciplinary action back in 2009. 

In December 2010, special investigator Purcell recommended these matters be referred to a disciplinary tribunal. 

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In March 2011, however, these proceedings were suspended at the request of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This suspension was lifted in mid-2018 following the conclusion of these State cases.

Chartered Accounts Ireland said that Fitzpatrick had accepted that the “appropriate sanction to meet the gravity of this conduct was exclusion from membership of the Institute and he consented to this”. 

“In the circumstances the Disciplinary Tribunal made an Order excluding Mr FitzPatrick from Membership of Chartered Accountants Ireland,” it said. “The tribunal also imposed a fine of €25,000.”

Given it said that Fitzpatrick accepted the above, the conduct committee did not offer evidence in respect of certain other allegations set out in the original formal complaint against Fitzpatrick. 

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Sean Murray

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