Ex-Anglo Irish Bosses Plead Not Guilty in Share-Loans Trial

Jan 31, 2014 9:32 am ET

(Updates with jury details starting in the fifth paragraph.)

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Former Anglo Irish Bank Corp. Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick and two other senior executives pleaded not guilty to corporate law charges after an investigation into the failed lender.

Fitzpatrick, 64, faces charges over alleged loans to 16 clients to purchase shares in the bank in 2008 along with Willie McAteer, 63, the lender’s former finance director, and Pat Whelan, 51, who was previously a managing director. The three pleaded not guilty to all charges in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today near the River Liffey, in the city center.

Whelan also pleaded not guilty to charges over alteration of facility letters that provided better terms to seven clients who were given loans to buy the shares, at a disadvantage to the bank.

Police and the nation’s corporate law enforcement agency began an investigation into Anglo Irish in February 2009, a month after the state moved to save the bank. The lender cost taxpayers 29.3 billion euros ($39.7 billion) to bail out before it was renamed Irish Bank Resolution Corp., or IBRC, in 2011. The government is now liquidating the bank.

Fifteen jurors were sworn in today. Judge Martin Nolan said before they were selected that finance workers, bank shareholders or those who have expressed “strong views” in public on the collapse of the banking system should not serve as jurors.

“Anybody who’s formed an adverse view of the bank cannot deal with the matter fairly,” Nolan said.

The first hearings before the jury are scheduled to start on Feb. 5. The case may last until the end of May, the judge said.

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--Editors: Dara Doyle, Lindsay Fortado