Donegal financier William McAteer and his former Anglo Irish Bank colleague Patrick Whelan will not be sent to prison.
The pair were convicted a fortnight ago on ten counts of illegally giving loans to boost the bank’s share price, in contravention of the Companies Act.
McAteer (63), a native of Rathmullan who lives in Dublin, was the bank’s finance director while Whelan (52) was Anglo’s head of lending in Ireland.
The case arose after the bank loaned €450 million to ‘The Maple Ten’ to buy out shares held by Fermanagh businessman Seán Quinn and his family. Between them, the Quinns had acquired a stake of 28 per cent in Anglo. It was feared that a Quinn sell-off would destabilise Anglo and Irish banking .
At the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin today, Judge Martin Nolan said McAteer and Whelan had “signally failed” to ensure that the bank behaved in a lawful manner.
However, he added, it was “incredible” that “red lights did not go off” about the legality of the arrangement in the office of the Financial Regulator when the buyout agreement was drawn up in 2008.
The regulator’s failure to warn Anglo meant that the office had effectively “given a green light” to Anlgo to the scheme.
Because of the state agency’s role, he said it would be “unjust” to send the pair to prison.
Judge Nolan said he did not believe they were motivated by greed but rather a “misguided attempt to save the bank”.
He ordered probation service reports to assess whether the pair are suitable for community service and adjourned the case to July 31.