Anglo Irish Bank Execs Face Trial In Dublin
Three senior executives from the bank at the centre of Ireland's economic crash have gone on trial in Dublin.
It is the first time Irish bankers have faced criminal charges for their alleged role in pushing the country's finances to the brink of collapse, prompting the bailout and austerity.
Sean FitzPatrick, Pat Whelan and William McAteer arrived at court to deny 16 charges of unlawfully providing financial assistance to people for the purpose of buying shares in Anglo Irish Bank in 2008.
They stand accused in Court 19 of the Courts of Criminal Justice of granting loans to favoured clients who, it is alleged, bought shares in the now defunct bank to prop up its share price during the credit crunch.
Those named in charges are: Patricia Quinn, Sean Quinn Junior, Collete Marie Quinn, Aoife Quinn, Brenda Quinn, Ciara Quinn, Paddy McKillen, Seamus Ross, Brian O'Farrell, John McCabe, Gerard Maguire, Patrick Kearney, Gerard Conlon, Gerard Gannon, Se?Reilly and Joseph O'Reilly.
Nearly ?30bn (£25bn) of Irish taxpayers' money was used to bailout Anglo Irish Bank in 2008 and to rescue it and the entire Irish banking sector from total collapse.
The trial, involving 24 million documents and 800 witness statements, will be one of the most complex in the history of financial prosecutions in Europe.
After the prosecution lays out its case in the biggest case in corporate history, more than 100 witnesses are expected to be called. The trial may last four months.
Sean Quinn, once branded Ireland's richest man but forced to file for bankruptcy when his property empire collapsed, is among those expected to give evidence during the marathon trial.
In another legal first for Dublin, 15 jurors have been sworn in to ensure at least 12 are still available to deliver verdicts after up to six months of evidence.
Officials at the Phoenix Park courts complex anticipate such public interest in the case, they have prepared an overspill viewing room, in addition to the space in the public gallery.
Security† be tight - protestors have targeted the home of one of the accused and in 2010, dissident republicans warned they were monitoring the actions of "banks and bankers".
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