Dec 02, 2019
At a Disciplinary Tribunal of Chartered Accountants Ireland (‘the Institute’) convened in Dublin today (2 December 2019), a member, Mr Sean FitzPatrick, accepted the facts of a formal complaint brought against him by the Institute’s Conduct Committee following the opinion certified by the Special Investigator, Mr John Purcell, that:
”….the concealment of loans over a period of time by their temporary transfer and related actions constituted misconduct of a serious nature likely to bring discredit to himself and/or Chartered Accountants Ireland, and/or the profession. The fact that Mr FitzPatrick was Chief Executive or Chairman of the Bank over the period of concealment adds to the gravity of this misconduct”
In light of the above, Mr FitzPatrick accepted that the appropriate sanction to meet the gravity of his conduct was exclusion from membership of the Institute and he consented to this. Mr FitzPatrick has further undertaken not to make any future application for reinstatement.
In the circumstances the Disciplinary Tribunal made an Order excluding Mr. FitzPatrick from Membership of Chartered Accountants Ireland.
The Tribunal also imposed a fine of €25,000.
Given Mr FitzPatrick’s acceptance of the above matters, the Conduct Committee did not offer evidence in respect of certain other allegations set out in the Formal Complaint against Mr FitzPatrick.
Note to Editors
- In 2009 the then Complaints Committee (now renamed Conduct Committee) of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board appointed former Comptroller & Auditor General, Mr John Purcell, as its Special Investigator to consider matters relating to Anglo Irish Bank plc with a view to establishing whether such matters might render Mr FitzPatrick liable to disciplinary action under the Institute’s Bye-laws and rules of professional conduct.
- In December 2010, following Mr Purcell’s certification that, in his opinion, there existed certain prima facie cases against Mr FitzPatrick, the Complaints Committee referred matters relating to Mr FitzPatrick, among other issues, to a Disciplinary Tribunal.
- In March 2011, such proceedings were suspended at the request of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions until the conclusion of certain State prosecutions relating to Anglo Irish Bank plc. This suspension was lifted in mid 2018 following conclusion of the State cases. At that stage, Chartered Accountants Ireland recommenced its consideration of this matter.
- The Disciplinary Tribunal is comprised of three members, only one of whom may be an accountant. In practice, such Tribunals are chaired by a legal professional. In considering appropriate monetary sanctions to impose on members and firms the Disciplinary Tribunal has regard to the sanction levels that applied at the time misconduct occurred. In 2009, the maximum monetary sanction was a fine of €30,000 per individual member or, in the case of a firm, per principal. Non-financial sanctions range from the ultimate sanction of exclusion from membership (reserved for the most serious cases) to a reprimand.