Anglo Market Abuse Case in the Pipeline; Criminal Conviction Could Cost FitzPatrick 10 Years Plus E10m Fine
Byline: John Lee POLITICAL EDITOR
INVESTIGATORS are confident they can press criminal charges for 'market abuse' against rogue banker Sean FitzPatrick over his secret transfer of loans from Anglo Irish Bank to Irish Life and Permanent.
If convicted, Mr FitzPatrick could face a decade in prison and a fine of up to e10m.
The Irish Mail on Sunday understands that investigators believe Mr FitzPatrick's ploy of hiding e122m of directors' loans from shareholders by temporarily transferring the debts to Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) constituted an 'attempt to deceive shareholders at Anglo Irish, surreptitiously distort share values and manipulate markets'.
The team - composed of officers at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation working alongside Paul Appleby's Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement - expects to press charges in the first half of next year.
The case won't make court until then, ODCE sources say, since the investigation has proven 'the most complex in the history of the State'.
The ODCE source confirmed that Mr FitzPatrick is being investigated under the Investment Funds, Companies and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2005. The maximum penalty for market abuse under the Act is 'a fine of e10,000,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years'. Mr FitzPatrick and his director colleagues are also being investigated under the same laws over the lodgement of multibillion-euro deposits at the end of Anglo's last fiscal year by ILP. Investigators say that this too constituted 'market abuse' and could see other directors face the possibility of a e10m fine and 10 years in jail. The investigating team understands the public concern over the duration of the probe but stressed that it 'wants the case to be as strong as possible'.
The ODCE source said: 'It is taking a long time for a number of reasons. The sheer volume of material for ourselves and our legal counsel to go through is phenomenal. …