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Police arrest former Anglo Irish Bank chairman in dawn raid fraud probe

City A.M. Reporter
Irish police arrested Sean FitzPatrick yesterday, the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, as part of a fraud investigation seen as vital to Ireland’s efforts to win back investor confidence.

The government has said it would investigate fully the role of nationalised Anglo Irish and other banks in the collapse that brought a spectacular period of growth to an abrupt end. It has announced tough new regulatory measures but until yesterday no arrests had been made. Irish public radio RTE named the arrested man as FitzPatrick.

Police said they had arrested a man in his early 60s and held him in Bray, a seaside resort just south in Dublin, after an early morning search, but did not name him or the institution involved in their inquiry.

The finance ministry, which has pumped €4bn (£3.5bn) of capital into Anglo, also refused to name the man, and limited its response to a brief statement. “There is an extensive Garda [police] investigation under way,” said the statement, adding it was “eager to see justice take its course”.

FitzPatrick, who was chief executive before becoming chairman, said in December 2008 he had kept shareholders in the dark for years about loans worth €84m he had received from Anglo Irish Bank, which had to be nationalised in early 2009.

The regulator has also been investigating whether Anglo Irish used more than €7bn of short-term deposits from bancassurer Irish Life & Permanent to mask large customer deposit withdrawals. Many investors avoided all Irish assets in the period after Anglo’s nationalisation but Dublin has been working to restore its reputation by taking steps to cut its budget deficit and overhauling its regulatory system.