Anglo sentencing hearing told legal advice was 'not positive'

A solicitor who gave legal advice to the former Anglo Irish Bank has said he did not know the bank lent money to the Maple Ten to buy its own shares, until after the deal was done.

Robert Heron, a former partner at Matheson Ormsby Prentice has also told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he did not give 'positive legal advice' that the bank's lending to the family of the then billionaire businessman Sean Quinn was not in breach of company law.

Robert Heron was called by the prosecution to give evidence at the sentencing hearing of former Anglo Finance Director Willie McAteer and former head of Irish lending Pat Whelan.

The two ex-bankers were convicted by a jury 11 days ago of providing unlawful loans to the so called Maple Ten for the purchase of Anglo shares in July 2008.

Neither man claims to have spoken directly to Mr Heron about the Maple transaction but their lawyers say it was their understanding that Anglo's compliance department had received positive legal advice that the deal was above board.

Mr Heron denies ever giving such positive advice though he did accept under cross examination that his recollection of events has evolved because initially he could not recall details of key conversations with Anglo's compliance department.

The sentencing hearing resumes tomorrow morning.

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