Ex-Anglo Irish Chairman Fitzpatrick Ordered to Stand Trial

Former Anglo Irish Bank Corp. Sean Fitzpatrick
Former Anglo Irish Bank Corp. Sean Fitzpatrick leaves after appearing at Dublin District Court in Dublin. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Former Anglo Irish Bank Corp. Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick was ordered to stand trial, after an investigation into activities at the now-nationalized bank.

Fitzpatrick, 64, Willie McAteer, the former finance director and Pat Whelan, a one-time managing director of Anglo Irish’s Irish unit, were charged in July in relation to the bank providing loans to 16 clients to buy shares in it in 2008.

Judge Cormac Dunne today sent the three men to trial after they were they were served with the so-called books of evidence. The trio, who sat side-by-side in court, were released on bail and made no comment during the 10-minute hearing today.

The lender bankrolled many of the developers who helped fuel the real estate bubble that collapsed in 2008. The state took over the bank in 2009, and sought an international bailout a year later to help meet the 29.3 billion-euro ($38 billion) cost of averting its collapse.

Irish police and the nation’s corporate law enforcer began an investigation into Anglo Irish in February 2009, a month after the state stepped into save the bank. The Director of Corporate Enforcement said in June that it had sent a number of files to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The book of evidence is “effectively notice of the all of the evidence that the Director of Public Prosecutions intends to call at a trial,” said Shelley Horan, a Dublin barrister, who lectures in law in Trinity College Dublin, before the three men appeared in court.

“The defense would ordinarily have a couple of months to consider the issues and seek further disclosure before indicating which way they intend to plead,” said Horan, who declined to comment on this specific case.

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