Ex-bankers to get community service

Ex-bankers to get community service

Two former directors of the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank have walked free from court after a judge ruled they should serve community service for their role in an illegal loans-for-shares deal.

On Tuesday Judge Martin Nolan adjourned the sentencing of former director of finance William McAteer and former head of Irish lending Pat Whelan until July to assess their suitability for community service.The judge said he felt they didn't deserve a custodial sentence and that it would be "most unjust" to jail these two men when he felt that a state agency had led them into "error and illegality".Whelan, 52, of Malahide, Co Dublin and McAteer, 63, of Rathgar, Dublin, had denied providing unlawful financial assistance to a select group of clients to buy Anglo shares from a doomed investment by former billionaire industrialist Sean Quinn.But a fortnight ago, a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court found the pair guilty by unanimous decision on 10 counts of providing €450m loans to a secret circle of clients in July 2008.They acquitted the ex-bankers of providing loans to six members of the Quinn family.The landmark case of a boom-to-bust bank was the first time anyone has been prosecuted under section 60 of the Companies Act in Ireland.The state's case against the bankers was that the loans were extraordinary business and in contravention of that law.The ex-bankers will be assessed by the probation service with a community service order to be imposed on 31 July.The bank's former chairman Sean FitzPatrick was previously cleared of all charges linked to the €619m scheme in July 2008.Anglo Irish Bank's share price collapsed in 2008 after it had reached an all-time high a year earlier.It was nationalised in January 2009 at a cost to Irish citizens of about €30bn but in 2013 it went into liquidation under a different name.


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