2 convicted ex-directors of failed Irish bank avoid jail over secret loans-for-shares deal

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DUBLIN – Two former executives of the failed Anglo Irish Bank have received suspended sentences, and will avoid prison, despite their conviction for a fraudulent loans-for-shares deal designed to boost the bank’s stock price.

A Dublin jury two weeks ago convicted former lending director Pat Whelan and finance director Willie McAteer of 10 counts each of banking fraud. The pair authorized 450 million euros ($625 million) in secret loans to 10 top clients on condition they used all the money to buy Anglo’s slumping shares.

Judge Martin Nolan ruled Tuesday that the men should be placed on probation only because state financial regulators had “led them into error and illegality.” They both could have faced up to 5 years in prison.

The government nationalized Anglo in 2009, wiping out its shares.

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