Anglo trial: Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer found guilty

  • 17 April 2014
  • From the section Europe
Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer
Image caption Pat Whelan and William McAteer were found guilty on 10 counts

Two former Anglo Irish bank chiefs have been found guilty of making loans designed to illegally prop up the bank's share price.

They are Pat Whelan, 52, former head of lending in Ireland and Willie McAteer, 63, the bank's former finance director.

Both men had denied the charges at Dublin Criminal Court.

On Wednesday, the bank's former chairman was cleared of illegally supporting the bank's share price.

Sean FitzPatrick, 65, held the top job in 2008 when the bank made loans to 10 wealthy customers who used the money to buy the bank's shares.

The jury found that Mr FitzPatrick's behaviour had not been illegal. However it convicted the two other men who were more closely involved in arranging the loans.

Anglo collapsed in 2009, costing Irish taxpayers more than 30bn euros (£25bn).

The case concerned a transaction involving the country's then richest man, Seán Quinn.

He had taken a complicated financial bet which meant he, in effect, controlled 25% of the bank's shares.

But Mr Quinn's bet had gone horrendously wrong.

Image caption Sean FitzPatrick was cleared of the charges in court on Wednesday

There was the prospect that he would have to dump his huge shareholding on the market and that would cause the bank's share price to collapse.

The bank's response was to get 10 of its wealthiest customers to buy the Quinn shares.

The bank lent the investors the money to buy the shares - and did so on favourable terms.

Loans were also provided to other members of the Quinn family to take up some of the shares.

The jury found that the loans made to the Quinn family were not illegal. Those loans were made on less favourable terms than the deal with the 10 other investors.

Whelan, of Malahide, County Dublin, and McAteer of Rathgar, Dublin, were cleared on those counts.

At the time, the deal had the desired effect and helped stabilise the bank.

However, the deal was a breach of company law which prevents a firm lending to a customer with the intention of affecting its own share price.

The judge directed the jury that, to convict, they must be satisfied that the loans had not been made in the ordinary course of the bank's business, that each of the defendants knew about the scheme and did not take steps to stop it.

Mr FitzPatrick's barrister had argued that his client's knowledge of the scheme was limited and that he was out of the country at the time the deal took place.

In court on Thursday, Whelan and McAteer were remanded on continuing bail pending a sentencing hearing on 28 April.

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