Sean FitzPatrick, Irish banker who profited from the ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom but became embroiled in financial scandal – obituary

In an interview on RTE, an unrepentant FitzPatrick refused to apologize to taxpayers for Anglo’s risky lending practices, blaming the global downturn – “So I can’t apologize with any degree of sincerity and of decency. But I can say thank you”.

He then gave a speech the same day urging the government to cut spending by targeting the “sacred cows” of child benefits, state pensions and health care.

His resignation three months later was followed by those of other bank staff, including chief executive David Drumm. Other victims included Ireland’s chief banking regulator, Patrick Neary and, in 2010, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who was revealed to have played golf and dined with FitzPatrick a few months before the bank guarantee was issued.

Shortly after the government was forced to nationalize Anglo, it emerged that in an attempt to prop up its share price, the bank had lent €450m to a group of 10 clients, known as Maple 10.

It also emerged that FitzPatrick had used his “hidden” loans to invest in dozens of risky businesses, including a casino in Macau. “I would invest here, there and everywhere,” he later confessed. “I’d be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that sounds good, put me in for that. ”

The nationalization of Anglo rendered its bank shares worthless, destroying much of the collateral underlying its loans.

In March 2010 he was arrested on suspicion of fraud and questioned, but released. Later that year he was declared bankrupt with debts of €147 million.

In July 2012, after being arrested again and released without charge, he was arrested a third time and this time charged with 16 offenses related to his role in the Maple 10 case. found not guilty on all counts.

In November 2016, he landed in court again, this time charged with 27 counts related to the bank’s auditors’ alleged deception over “hidden” loans. During the trial, it emerged that potentially important documents had been shredded by an official from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and some prosecution witnesses had been dragged away. In 2017, after the longest criminal trial in Irish history, the judge handling the case ordered FitzPatrick’s acquittal.

His only formal punishment came two years later, when he was expelled from Chartered Accountants Ireland and fined €25,000.

Sean FitzPatrick is survived by his wife Catriona and their two sons and one daughter.

Sean FitzPatrick, born May 25, 1948, died November 8, 2021

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