(Reuters) – Ireland put three former bankers on trial on Friday in its first such case since the financial crisis that forced it to accept an 85 billion euro (69 billion pounds) international bailout.
The three former executives of collapsed Anglo Irish Bank pleaded not guilty to charges of providing unlawful financial assistance by lending money to others to buy the bank’s shares, boosting its stock price.
The high-profile trial of former chairman and chief executive Sean FitzPatrick and two other executives, Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan, could run for several months.
Ireland’s banking crisis cost taxpayers more than 60 billion euros ($81 billion), or about two-fifths of national output, forcing it to take an emergency package in 2010 from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Though Dublin has now completed its bailout and growth has returned, it still has one of Europe’s highest levels of national debt and has to implement more austerity to ensure its economy is on solid foundations…