Former Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Seán FitzPatrick has died aged 73
Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman SeÃ¡n FitzPatrick has died aged 73.
A family spokesperson confirmed that Mr FitzPatrick died yesterday. The former banker suffered cardiac arrest last week and was rushed to hospital.
He is survived by his wife Triona and the couple’s three adult children, David, Jonathan and Sara.
Mr FitzPatrick became a figure of controversy and derision in political circles after the collapse of the Anglo-Irish Bank and the State Bank Guarantee in 2008.
Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.
The bank that Mr FitzPatrick helped create – first as managing director during the notorious boom years, then as chairman until his nationalization in 2009 – will be indelibly linked to the banking and real estate crash in Ireland that contributed to the state’s bankruptcy and ushered in an era of unemployment and immigration.
Mr FitzPatrick has long been called Public Enemy No. 1 of the disastrous Irish banking crash.
Anglo was nationalized in January 2009 and then merged with another dead bank, Irish Nationwide and renamed Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. The IBCR was wound up in 2013.
But Ireland had already gobbled around â¬ 30 billion into Anglo, representing around half of all the money Irish taxpayers were forced to pump into the banking system during the state’s worst financial crisis.
All the major banks of the time, including AIB, Bank of Ireland and Irish Life & Permanent, had to be bailed out to keep their doors open at a huge cost to Irish taxpayers.
Anglo will nonetheless be forever linked to the crash as it was a bank specializing in lending to property developers and playing an inordinate role in recklessly lending huge sums to small groups of property developers and businessmen.
First as Managing Director from 1986, then as Chairman from 1995, Mr. FitzPatrick joined Anglo in the bank which was the main lender to commercial real estate developers.
It only had a small handful of branches in Ireland and abroad, but declared its ambitions even as it rushed into disaster to grow and eclipse conventional general lenders like AIB and Bank of Ireland and become the largest commercial real estate lender in Europe.
Anglo in the world has become synonymous with reckless lending during the boom. Some of the bank’s top executives were convicted of criminal activity in their attempts to hide its financial woes as the crisis deepened, at the start of the 2008 global financial crash.
The sums involved in Ireland’s recapitalization of the banking system have been so huge that international debt markets have lost confidence in Ireland’s ability to refinance its sovereign debt.
At the end of 2010, the government was forced to approach the troika of the EU, the ECB and the IMF for a humiliating sovereign bailout of 67 billion euros.
The troika prescribed the austerity which led to the recession and unemployment eventually soared to over 18%.
Ireland has also been asked to repay the private bond debts of banks like Anglo. The mismanagement of the crisis by the ECB and others in the early years almost led to the expulsion of the single currency from Ireland and other bailed out European nations.
In April 2014, at the start of the first of several multi-year trials of prominent Anglo bankers and others, Judge Martin Nolan said jurors should leave any prejudices they had against the courtroom door. the bankers for the country’s debt âdisasterâ.
During the trial, Judge Nolan had called Anglo “probably the most famous bank, and some would say infamous, in this country”.
In the 2016 trial, Mr. FitzPatrick was acquitted of all charges that he provided “illegal financial assistance” in July 2008 to a group of long-time customers, known as Maple 10, to purchase Anglo shares.
In 2017, Mr. FitzPatrick was also acquitted of the charges of concealing loans from listeners.
In 2003, Mr. FitzPatrick was the highest paid Irish stock exchange company with 1.8 million euros, which included a performance bonus of 1.2 million euros.
He had secured millions of loans from Anglo and built a portfolio of investments around the world, including a casino in Macau.
He was declared bankrupt in 2010 with debts of 147 million euros but continued to live in an upscale neighborhood of Greystones in Co Wicklow.
In an interview as he prepared to step down as CEO in 2003, Mr FitzPatrick said he wanted to step down from the day-to-day running of the bank and spoke of his contribution to building Anglo.
âItâs going to sound very arrogant, but I donât think of it that way. Who will replace Alex Ferguson? And I think there are better managers than Alex Ferguson. The board must be courageous, âhe said.
He was then appointed President of Anglo until his nationalization in 2009.
‘SeÃ¡nie’, has become an emblem of the regulation of light touch, often without touching, which existed under the Fianna FÃ¡il during the years of the Celtic Tiger.
Next, Taoiseach Brian Cowen was accused by then Labor leader Eamon Gilmore of committing economic betrayal under privilege at the DÃ¡il after revelations emerged about a game of golf between the two men months before the warranty is not extended.
In 2010, following the publication of a book by journalists Tom Lyons and Brian Carey, Mr. Gilmore attacked Mr. Cowen for exposing the state to foot the bill of a “rotten bank”.
“If the Taoiseach government knew that Anglo Irish Bank was insolvent and asked the Irish taxpayer to bail it out and pay the cost we are now paying for it, that was and is economic betrayal,” he said in a very busy atmosphere in the Dail.
Mr. Gilmore made the comments during Officers’ Questions where he asked the Taoiseach about his contacts with Mr. FitzPatrick.
“First, did the Taoiseach discuss bank business over dinner or out on the golf course? Second, will he keep all of his contacts with the Anglo Irish Bank between the beginning of 2008 and the time of his nationalization in the house file?
“Isn’t the bottom line that the government gave a bailout, a guarantee, to a failing bank and people now have to pay for it with reduced income and social benefits, additional taxes, a loss? activity and the economic problem they are trying to tackle? “
During the 2015 bank investigation, Mr Cowen said he regretted the round of golf with Anglo boss Sean FitzPatrick “if only for the sake of the eye.”
The controversial game took place at Druids Glen on July 23, 2008, just months after the catastrophic collapse of Anglo Irish Bank shares.
Mr. Cowen performed with Mr. FitzPatrick and his longtime friend Fintan Drury, a former Anglo director. Later, the trio joined Alan Gray, director of the Central Bank, Gary McGann, director of Anglo, and Mr Cowen’s driver for a dinner at the golf club.
Mr. Cowen called the game “optically unfortunate.”
âYes, I would prefer it not to happen,â he told the bank inquiry.
When asked by Deputy Kieran O’Donnell if he had shown poor judgment in participating, Mr. Cowen replied that there was nothing wrong with what he had done.
“I haven’t done anything improper or untoward. If people want to make it look like something has happened, there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.
Several MPs asked Mr. Cowen about this golf outing. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked if the former Taoiseach knew that it was mainly Anglo-Saxon individuals who would be present.
âIt didn’t really occur to me,â he said.
Mr Cowen said he asked Fintan Drury to bring people together to discuss the economy which is clearly slowing down. He insisted that there had been no discussion during the day about the bank and “that is the truth. These were economic issues.”
He told MP Joe Higgins the conversation focused on discussing economic challenges.