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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Fitzpatrick wife 'didn't lead extravagant life' as she battles for €6m

Catriona Fitzpatrick. Photo: Collins Courts
Catriona Fitzpatrick. Photo: Collins Courts
Sean Fitzpatrick. Photo: Collins Courts

Catriona Fitzpatrick, the wife of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick, is claiming around €6m in assets, some of which were jointly held by the couple before her husband was declared bankrupt in 2010, the High Court has heard.

Mrs Fitzpatrick was giving evidence on the second day of the hearing of three actions relating to whether she has any interest in assets that were the subject of the bankruptcy.

Entitlement

Mr Fitzpatrick was declared bankrupt with assets of €47m and debts of €147m and has since exited bankruptcy.

Mrs Fitzpatrick has brought proceedings against official assignee (OA) in bankruptcy Chris Lehane and her husband (as the bankrupt), claiming she has an entitlement to various assets, including property, shares and bonds.

The OA, in the estate of Mr Fitzpatrick, has brought his own proceedings against Mrs Fitzpatrick and the couple's three children, David, Jonathan and Sara Fitzpatrick.

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which took over Anglo, has brought separate related proceedings against Mrs Fitzpatrick.

It denies she is entitled to claim monies loaned to fund asset investments or that the loans were given on a non- recourse basis to her.

The court heard that when the couple refinanced their loans in 2009, she was aware that the amount owed by them in loans for their investments was around €80m.

Mrs Fitzpatrick said repeatedly she was not aware of the detail of all those and left the figures entirely to her husband.

Mrs Fitzpatrick told her counsel, Gerard Durcan, that most of the investments came after her husband became non-executive chairman of Anglo in 2005.

They had a joint deposit and borrowing account, which she had only a general knowledge of, but repeatedly said she knew the detail of what assets they concerned.

When Mr Fitzpatrick asked her to sign documents she did it, "sometimes in the middle of dinner".

She had good knowledge of investments of their main property, including their home in Greystones, Co Wicklow, as well as a townhouse and an apartment in Malaga.

When it came to other investments, she left the details to Mr Fitzpatrick. She also knew he had a very good pension, and when he retired from Anglo they were very comfortably off.

"Money was not my common denominator, we wanted it for security, but I did not lead an extravagant lifestyle at all," she said.

Cross-examined by Paul Gallagher, for the OA, Mrs Fitzpatrick initially could not remember exactly how much she was claiming, but then said: "About six million, sorry."

The case continues.

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