'Financial Terrorist': Bank Boss Acquitted of All Charges Despite Blowing Up Irish Economy
Former Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick, famously described by RT’s Max Keiser as a “financial terrorist,” is in the clear after being acquitted of all charges in a long-running multi-million euro loans case.
Fitzpatrick served as chief executive of the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank for almost 20 years before taking up the position of chairman from 2005 until 2008. He resigned amid emerging details of secret loans he had taken out with the bank.
On Tuesday Judge John Aylmer at Dublin Circuit Court in Ireland acquitted Fitzpatrick of 27 charges of misleading the bank's auditors and furnishing false information about multi-million euro loans to him and to people connected to him between 2002 and 2007.
The judge strongly criticized the investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) in his ruling, the Irish Times reports.
Aylmer said the ODCE fell short of the “impartial, unbiased investigation that an accused is entitled to,” he was cited as saying by RTE. He added that key witnesses had been coached and the ODCE had failed to seek out evidence of innocence as well as guilt.
He accused the office, which has the mandate to investigate allegations of breaches of company law, of making assumptions about Fitzpatrick.
The judge also expressed concern that material shredded by the ODCE's chief investigator during Mr Fitzpatrick's first trial may have been material that could have assisted the defense.
During the trial the prosecution argued that multi-million euro loans taken out by Fitzpatrick and his family were “artificially reduced” by short term loans from other sources for a period of two weeks around the bank’s financial end-of-year statement.
The prosecution alleged that he failed to disclose the extent of these loans to the bank’s auditors in the years 2002 to 2007. FitzPatrick denied all charges.
In 2014, he was found not guilty of 10 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to a group of investors dubbed the ‘Maple 10’ to buy shares in the bank in July 2008.
Judge Aylmer’s decision was made on the 126th day of the trial – making it the longest criminal trial in the history of the Irish state. The jury is due to return to court tomorrow morning but will be directed by the judge to acquit Fitzpatrick.