Seán FitzPatrick

This article is about the Irish banker. For the New Zealand rugby player, see Sean Fitzpatrick.
Seán FitzPatrick

May 1948 (age 68)

Nationality Irish
Known for Chairman of Anglo Irish Bank

Seán FitzPatrick (born 25 May 1948) was chairman of Anglo Irish Bank until he resigned in December 2008 amid mounting revelations over hidden loans.[1] The scandal precipitated a collapse of the bank's share price which in turn led to its nationalisation on 21 January 2009.

In an RTÉ Radio 1 interview on The Marian Finucane Show in October 2008, FitzPatrick denied critics' charges that the bank had been reckless in making too many big loans to property developers as Ireland's property bubble grew.[2] While saying he was grateful for the state's help, he refused to offer taxpayers an apology, saying

The cause of our problems are global, so I can't say sorry with any degree of sincerity and decency. But I can say thank you.[3]

FitzPatrick addressed the government in another speech on the same day and recommended cutting spending on what he called the "sacred cows" of Irish society: children, the elderly and health care.[4] FitzPatrick was declared bankrupt on 12 July 2010.[5]

Early life

He was born in County Wicklow, Ireland. His father was a small farmer and his mother was a civil servant who left the workforce to raise her children.[6] FitzPatrick's only sibling, his older sister, Joyce, would go on to become the sixth President of National College of Ireland.[7] FitzPatrick was educated locally at Presentation College, Bray. Following this he attended University College Dublin.[8]


FitzPatrick was chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank from 1986 until 2005, when he became its chairman. He resigned from that position in December 2008 when details of secret loans he had taken out with the bank were revealed.

FitzPatrick was appointed to a number of positions by Fianna Fáil politicians. In 1998 the then Minister for the Environment and Local Government Noel Dempsey appointed FitzPatrick to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority where he served until 2007.[9] FitzPatrick was also appointed as a non-executive to the Irish airline Aer Lingus in March 2004[10] by the prominent Fianna Fáil politician and then Minister for Transport Séamus Brennan[11]


When news of his secret loans became public and FitzPatrick resigned as chairman, the resulting furore also swept from office Ireland's chief banking regulator, Patrick Neary. FitzPatrick, while Anglo Irish chairman, had borrowed more than €100 million from the bank and hid the loans from auditors for eight years. The former multi-millionaire banker defaulted on the loans following a series of major business setbacks, valuable shareholding in Anglo Irish Bank once worth €80 million is now worthless followed by a failed oil venture in Africa and a stake in a casino in Asia stalled. His property investments in Ireland and Hungary were also hit by the international slump.[12]

Both FitzPatrick and the bank said in statements on his resignation that his handling of the loans was neither illegal nor a breach of Irish banking regulations. But an apologetic new chairman O'Connor told shareholders that FitzPatrick's loans were "wrong and unacceptable".

The following day, headlines in the Irish papers illuminated the popular mood: "Seán FitzPatrick Should Go To Jail" competed with "If FitzPatrick Lived in New York, He'd Have Been Arrested By Now".[13]

It is clear to me, on reflection, that it was inappropriate and unacceptable from a transparency point of view.

When he resigned from Anglo Irish Bank, Fitzpatrick also resigned his non-executive directorships at Greencore, Aer Lingus, Experian, Smurfit Kappa Group, and Gartmore Irish Growth Fund.


On 16 March 2010 Gardaí were given a warrant to search Seán Fitzpatrick's house.[15] FitzPatrick was arrested at around 06:30 on 18 March 2010 at his house in Greystones, County Wicklow. He was arrested by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.[16][17] He was questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984. Under this he was able to be held for up to six hours without charge, but this was later extended.[18] The Gardaí were also assisting another investigation by the Director of Corporate Enforcement for breach of company law.[15] The Gardaí confirmed in a statement that "There is an extensive Garda investigation under way, eager to see justice take its course" In most western countries it is illegal to run a business and seek investment while insolvent.[19] It was not confirmed by the Gardaí at first if FitzPatrick was the person in their custody,[20] but by an independent source and RTÉ.[19] Following the arrest, without naming FitzPatrick, the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan commented on the situation.[21] After more than 24 hours of questioning, he was released without charge on 19 March 2010. A file was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.[22]

On Friday 9 December 2011, Fitzpatrick was arrested a second time by Gardaí, allegedly as part of an investigation into "Financial Irregularities at a Financial Institution".[23]

On 24 July 2012, Fitzpatrick was arrested a third time by Gardaí, allegedly as part of an investigation into "Financial Irregularities at a Financial Institution" [24] He was charged with 16 offences by Gardaí attached to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement relating to his role in advising on and lending millions to a golden circle of investors to falsely inflate Anglo's share price.[25]

Irish Life and Permanent transaction 2008

In 2010 it was revealed that Sean Fitzpatrick, David Drumm, and former Anglo Irish Bank finance director Willie McAteer and Peter Fitzpatrick former director of finance at Irish Life and Permanent had 'prima facie' cases to answer in relation to their roles in controversial dealings at Anglo Irish Bank and transactions to Irish Life and Permanent, according to reports prepared by John Purcell, a special investigator. Purcell reports were submitted to the Complaints Committee of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board on 14 December 2010, and forwarded to the board’s Disciplinary Committee.[26][27]

In this context Sean FitzPatrick is tried for:

David Drumm is tried for:

Willie McAteer is tried for:

Peter Fitzpatrick is tried for:


Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean FitzPatrick was declared bankrupt by the Irish High Court on 12 July 2010.[28] The assets and debts of Sean FitzPatrick are now under the control of the official assignee, Chris Lehane, a court appointed official under the bankruptcy legislation.

See also


  1. Sean FitzPatrick Anlgo Irish Bank loan book
  2. Marian Finucane; Sean FitzPatrick (October 2008). Sean FitzPatrick on "The Marian Finucane Show" (MP3) (Radio Broadcast). Donnybrook, Dublin: RTÉ Radio 1. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  3. Douglas, Lucy (2010). "Boom, bust, bailout". Business Management Magazine. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  4. Lynch, David J. (30 January 2009). "Irish stand united in hatred of banker Sean FitzPatrick". USA Today.
  5. "FitzPatrick due to be declared bankrupt". 12 July 2010.
  6. "Implosion of a legend in his own lunchtime". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. March 21, 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  7. "Lifting a lid on Anglo's links to the docklands". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. February 15, 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  8. "Bankruptcy hasn't curbed luxury lifestyle of 'outsider' Sean FitzPatrick". Irish Independent. 2 December 2012.
  9. Murphy, C. (2009)'Seanie's plaything? Disgraced banker Sean Fitzpatrick is inextricably linked to the Docklands Authority. Should we be worried?' (online) Available at (last accessed 26 April 2010
  10. Aer Lingus Group Plc (2006) Annual Report 2005 (Online) Available at (last accessed 26 April 2010)
  11. Department of Transport (2004)Transport Minister Announces Appointments to Board of Aer Lingus [online] Available at (last accessed 26 April 2010
  12. Smyth, Sam (1 October 2009). "FitzPatrick not paying off €100m loan interest". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  13. David J. Lynch (30 January 2009). "Irish stand united in hatred of banker Seán FitzPatrick". USA Today. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  14. Aldrick, Philip (19 December 2008). "Anglo Irish chairman Sean FitzPatrick resigns over 'inappropriate' loan". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  15. 1 2 Conor Lally (18 March 2010). "Former Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick arrested". The Irish Times. The Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  16. "Former Anglo chief FitzPatrick arrested by fraud squad". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  17. David Jolly (18 March 2010). "Police Said to Arrest Former Head of Irish Bank". The New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  18. "Sean FitzPatrick held in Anglo fraud inquiry". RTÉ News. RTÉ. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  19. 1 2 Padraic Halpin; Andras Gergely (18 March 2010). "Police arrest Anglo Irish Bank's former chairman". Reuters. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  20. "Irish police fraud squad arrests ex-bank boss". Agence France-Presse via France24. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  21. Hazel Tyldesley (18 March 2010). "Fraud Squad Questions Former Irish Banker". Sky News. BSkyB. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  22. Simon Carswell; Conor Lally; Steven Carroll (20 March 2010). "FitzPatrick makes plan to protect himself from creditors". The Irish Times. The Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  23. . 9 December 2011 news tweet regarding second arrest of Fitzpatrick news tweet regarding second arrest of Fitzpatrick Check |url= value (help). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. . 24 July 2012 news regarding third arrest of Fitzpatrick news regarding third arrest of Fitzpatrick Check |url= value (help). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. "Sean FitzPatrick bailed after 16 fraud offence charges". Independent. 24 July 2012.
  26. "'Cases to answer' over Anglo". The Irish Times. 12 December 2010.
  28. "Sean FitzPatrick is declared bankrupt". RTÉ News. 12 July 2010.
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