Anglo executives sentenced to community service

Pat Whelan

Two former executives at the defunct Anglo Irish Bank will serve 240 hours community service for their role in an illegal lending plot.

Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer were spared jail in April over a €450m scheme to unravel a secret stock trade in July 2008 that regulators feared threatened Ireland's entire bank system.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told the order was being imposed in lieu of a two year prison sentence.

Judge Martin Nolan told the men to make the most of the time.

"Gentlemen, enjoy your community service," the judge said.

Both men nodded and Mr Whelan thanked the judge.

The bankers had been convicted earlier this year over the lending to a secret circle of Anglo clients, businessmen and developers nicknamed the Maple 10.

The loans were part of deals to unravel a doomed €2.4bn gamble on Anglo's shares - 28% of its total stock - by former billionaire industrialist Sean Quinn.

Whelan and McAteer are the first company directors to be prosecuted in Ireland under section 60 of the Companies Act. They are now barred from similar roles for five years.

Whelan (aged 52) and a father-of-two, of Malahide, Co Dublin, and McAteer (aged 63) and also a father-of-two, of Rathgar, Dublin, did not speak for the brief hearing and smiled as the order was handed down.

They made no comment leaving the courts complex.

The court heard the men had been assessed over the last three months and were regarded suitable for community service.

They had been found guilty over the loans to the Maple 10 but not guilty of illegally lending money to members of the Quinn family for the same share buy up plan.

The terms of the Quinn loans included a recourse clause which required the family to repay the money in full while the Maple 10 were only on the hook for 25% of the lending.

Sean FitzPatrick, Anglo's former chairman, was found not guilty of all charges relating to the scheme.

At the end of the trial in April, Judge Nolan singled out the former financial watchdog in Ireland Patrick Neary for damning criticism over the illegal loans-for-shares scam at Anglo.

At the time he said it would be unjust to jail Whelan and McAteer.

The judge said they were guilty of a blatant crime but acted with the knowledge of the watchdog which failed to throw up any red warning lights or simply chose to ignore illegal lending.

The 11 week bankers' trial was the first involving anyone from the financial services industry following Anglo's crash and a crippling €30bn bailout.

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