First arrests in Anglo fraud case
The former chairman and chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick, and two other former high-ranking executives at the bank have finally been charged with offences relating to white-collar crimes at the collapsed bank.
The three were charged with ‘providing unlawful financial assistance to investors’, an Irish euphemism for stock fraud.
They are the first individuals to face criminal charges in the almost four-year investigation into the bank, and the first to be charged in the collapse of Ireland’s corrupt and failed banking system.
The three accused face charges relating to loans provided by Anglo to a group of investors - ten individuals known as the “Maple 10” -- and to the five children of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn and his wife Patricia, to buy shares in the bank.
Anglo made the loans to prop up its share price and, in turn, public confidence in the bank.
Anglo said in its 2008 annual report that “ten long-standing clients of the bank” had bought shares with 451 million euro loan.
The shares were bought as part of an unwinding of a large position in the bank held by Quinn family interests through investments based around the performance of the company’s shares.
No charges have been brought regarding the alleged falsification of Anglo’s financial accounts, which also took place around that time.
Since the crisis began, the state has pumped over 64 billion euro into banks, excluding NAMA, the national ‘bad bank’.
Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty welcomed the arrests, but said much more is needed before the public feel that those responsible for the banking crisis in this state have been held accountable and that such a thing will never happen again.
He said “we will need to see how the judicial process plays” out in the three cases.
“The banking crisis forced us into a Troika conditional loan agreement of 67.5 billion euro and the public have being paying for that agreement in more and more severe budgets since then.
“We have a fair idea about what happened and how it happened in banks, what people are looking for now is justice.
He said he hoped the government’s commitment to the investigation remains firm “and that we are not treated to the same half-hearted approach to accountability that we have seen in the past with white collar criminality, where investigations are allowed to fizzle out.
“When people routinely get sentences for trivial things like not paying their television license, bringing the state to its economic knees cannot go unpunished.”