Bank chief appears in court over ‘hidden loans’

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THE disgraced former head of Anglo Irish Bank appeared ­before an Irish court yesterday charged with failing to disclose at least €139 million (£113m) of loans to auditors.

Sean FitzPatrick, 64, who served as chief executive and chairman of Anglo Irish, appeared before Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court after being arrested earlier.

He was charged with 12 offences, including several counts of failing to disclose the true amount of loans made by the bank to him, and of giving misleading or deceptive statements to auditor Ernst & Young relating to loans of almost €300m (£244m). The offences are alleged to have occurred between 2002 and 2007, when the Celtic Tiger boom was in full flight.

Anglo Irish Bank, and FitzPatrick, were leading players in the Irish property bubble, the bursting of which forced Dublin to accept a €67.5 billion (£55bn)bail-out from the European Union and International Monetary Fund in November 2010.

Anglo Irish’s other directors, include Sean Quinn, 66, who was once considered to be Ireland’s richest man. Quinn is expected to be released for Christmas from a nine-week jail term for contempt of court over attempts to recover assets relating to suspect dealings in the bank’s shares before it collapsed.

Anglo Irish was nationalised in 2009, following the biggest banking crisis in the history of the Irish state.