Thursday 27 October 2016

Ex-ILP finance chief Fitzpatrick not guilty in €7.2bn Anglo plot

Former ILP finance chief Peter Fitzpatrick (left) leaves Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after being acquitted. Photo: Collins
Former ILP finance chief Peter Fitzpatrick (left) leaves Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after being acquitted. Photo: Collins

A jury has acquitted the former finance director of Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) of conspiring to defraud the markets in 2008 in a €7.2bn scheme.

Jurors at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court returned a not guilty verdict on Peter Fitz- patrick (63) following nearly 47 hours of deliberating.

Mr Fitzpatrick held his head in his hands and wept after the verdict was read out. He then hugged his barrister, Brendan Grehan.

Deliberations are continuing on the only remaining accused on the indictment, Denis Casey (56), who was formerly the chief executive of ILP.

Judge Martin Nolan agreed to a defence application to discharge Mr Fitzpatrick from the indictment.


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 July 25.

Bowe, from Glasnevin, Dublin; McAteer, of Greenrath, Tipperary town; 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 €7.2bn circular trans- action scheme between March 1 and September 30, 2008 to bolster Anglo's balance sheet.

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

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 €7.2bn deposit was later accounted for in Anglo's preliminary results on December 3, 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 16pc.

Mr McAteer was Anglo's dir- ector of finance and Mr Bowe was head of capital markets in the bank's treasury department.

Their lawyers had argued that they believed the deposits were real and were accounted for correctly on Anglo's balance sheet, and so no fraud was carried out.

Lawyers defending Mr Casey and his then finance director argued that they had no control over how Anglo would account for the deposits and had no intention of misleading the public.

He is the only remaining defendant in a trial that has run since mid-January.

Mr Casey will return to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday, when 11 jurors will continue considering a verdict on whether he conspired to assist Anglo Irish Bank to defraud the markets in 2008 in a €7.2bn scheme.

At 4.30pm yesterday, jurors had entered hour 48 of deliberations when Judge Nolan asked them if they wanted to sit late or return today.

The foreman declined both options, citing previous commitments by juror members.

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