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Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Irish police free ex-Anglo Irish chief Sean FitzPatrick

Sean FitzPatrick
Sean FitzPatrick was arrested at his County Wicklow home

The former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank has been released from Irish police custody where he was being questioned about alleged financial irregularities.

A file on the case has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Sean FitzPatrick stepped down in December 2008 after admitting he had concealed millions of euros in personal loans from the Dublin-based bank.

He was arrested at his home on Thursday morning; the property was also searched by detectives.

He was being detained at a police station in Bray, County Wicklow.

Mr FitzPatrick hid loans from shareholders by temporarily transferring them to another bank before each year-end to avoid revealing them in the accounts.

The bank became a symbol for the decline of the "Celtic Tiger" economy.

Last year, Anglo reported the biggest loss in Irish corporate history when it made a loss of 4.1bn euros (£3.7bn) in the six months to March on the back of large impairments on its property loans to developers.

Anglo Irish Bank branch

Its latest set of results, due to be published soon, are expected to be much worse.

The bank was one of the stars of Irish business during the country's property boom, lending billions of euros for development in Ireland and the UK.

It was nationalised by the Dublin government in 2009 after it threatened to collapse in the face of a property crash.

Aside from the concealment of directors' loans, other scandals to afflict the bank included a scheme to allegedly give artificial support to the bank's share price and the recording of a huge loan from another bank as a customer deposit.



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