Anglo-Irish Bank pair found guilty of loans plot

TWO former directors of Anglo Irish Bank – the rogue lender that crippled Ireland’s economy – have been found guilty of hatching a multi-million euro loans-for-shares plot months
before the bank’s collapse.

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Pat Whelan leaves the Circuit Criminal Court, Dublin. Picture: PA

Pat Whelan, of Malahide, Co Dublin, 52, and William McAteer, 63, of Rathgar, Dublin, had denied providing unlawful financial assistance to a select group of clients to buy Anglo shares from a doomed investment by former billionaire industrialist Sean Quinn.

However, the pair was found guilty by unanimous decision on ten counts of providing €450 million (£370m) loans.

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The 12 jurors returned the verdicts after an 11-week landmark trial and almost 17 hours of deliberation at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court – the first prosecution following the bank’s collapse in January 2009.

Former chairman Sean FitzPatrick was yesterday cleared of all charges linked to the €619m (£509m) scheme in July 2008.

Whelan and McAteer face a maximum of five years in jail for each offence. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for 28 April.

The state’s case against the bankers was that the loans were extraordinary business and in contravention of the Companies Act in Ireland.

The verdict draws to a close just one aspect of complex fraud investigations focusing on the turbulent months before Anglo was nationalised in January 2009 at a cost to Irish citizens of about €30bn.

Whelan and McAteer left the court without making any comment.