Former Anglo Irish Bank chief declared bankrupt

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The Independent Online

The former head of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean FitzPatrick, was officially declared bankrupt today.

At a brief hearing at Dublin's High Court, Mr FitzPatrick's barrister, Mark Sanfey, Senior Counsel, said a scheme drawn up to settle with his creditors had not been supported by the management at Anglo.

"In the circumstances, Mr Fitzpatrick considered he should bow to the inevitable and not force a vote that he could not possibly win," Mr Sanfey said.

The High Court had given Mr FitzPatrick, who owes the now nationalised lender more than 100 million euro (£83 million), several months to put his financial affairs in order and strike a repayment deal with creditors.

The court heard that he sought an order for protection on March 15 and, after securing the order, worked with his advisers to draw up an independent forensic accounting report.

He also worked with the creditors as part of efforts to secure a repayment plan.

Mr Sanfey told Mr Justice Brian McGovern that a meeting was held with Mr FitzPatrick's creditors last Wednesday.

The draft scheme, in which Mr FitzPatrick set out what he was trying to achieve, was discussed, Mr Sanfey said.

Mr FitzPatrick's lawyer said a number of the creditors at the meeting "spoke in support of the proposal put forward".

Mr Sanfey said Anglo indicated to the court it would not deal with any proposal.

In the wake of the block by Anglo, Mr Sanfey said the former bank boss considered he should bow to the inevitable.

The barrister told Mr Justice McGovern he was applying for an order of adjudication.

The judge said: "In the circumstances that have been outlined I will make the order adjudicating Mr FitzPatrick a bankrupt."

Mr FitzPatrick, who resigned from Anglo in December 2008 amid a storm over directors' loans, was not in court.

Paul Gardiner, senior counsel for Anglo, said it was their belief the scheme would not have been better for the bank.

"It was clear from the outset that the scheme was never going to work," Mr Gardiner told the court.

The ex-banker is also at the centre of a massive fraud and corporate mismanagement investigation by garda and watchdog Paul Appleby, the director of Corporate Enforcement.

Mr FitzPatrick was arrested in March and questioned about a so-called bed and breakfast transfer of 7.45 billion euro (£6.2 billion) in deposits between Irish Life Permanent and Anglo in 2008. The scheme was allegedly devised to effectively conceal the state of the bank's books. No charges have been brought.

The nationalisation of Anglo Irish is ultimately expected to cost the state more than 20 billion euro (£16.7 billion).