Sunday 22 October 2017

Drumm: I knew tapes were ‘bad, bad, bad’

THE former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm has broken his silence to apologise for the ‘tone and language’ on the tapes released this week by the Irish Independent.

He said he fully understood why the published excerpts of taped conversations with other senior executives had offended some people but claimed they suggested an incorrect interpretation of why the government issued a blanket bank guarantee in September 2008.

Mr Drumm was one of three Anglo chiefs recorded talking about trying to source the money from Irish authorities.

"I accept that the tone and language used in the tapes is inappropriate and I fully understand why the excerpts published have offended many people," he told US-based journalist Niall O'Dowd in a piece on the publisher's Irish Central website.

Drumm, who is now based in the US, said the first he knew of the tapes being released was when he logged on to independent.ie last Monday morning in New York

"I knew they were bad, bad, bad," he told IrishCentral.com.

He said the recording was made at a highly stressful and uncertain time and was an "embarrassing" and "shocking" reminder of the pressure they were under.

"However, there is no excuse for the terrible language or the frivolous tone and I sincerely regret the offence it has caused. I cannot change this now but I can apologise to those who had to listen to it and who were understandably so offended by it."

Anglo Irish was the first Irish bank to seek a government bailout.

It ran into trouble after lending tens of billions of euros to property developers before the collapse of the property market.

A government rescue package eventually cost Irish taxpayers around €30bn and the bank was nationalised in 2009.

The banking crisis led to Ireland having to ask the International Monetary Fund and the European Union for a €85bn bailout in 2010.

Leaked tape conversations between Anglo executives as the crisis gathered pace have been published all week.

They were recorded on the eve of the Government introducing the controversial €440bn bank guarantee in September 2008.

In one discussion with a senior colleague, the troubled lender's then chief executive Mr Drumm outlined his strategy for persuading the Government to support a bank which was losing billions.

"Get into the f**king simple speak: 'We need the moolah, you have it, so you're going to give it to us and when would that be? We'll start there'," he said.

This weekend he said he wanted to hear the similar dialogues that were going on at that intense time between the other banks and the Central Bank of Ireland and the Financial Regulator.

The executive claimed the selected excerpts from tapes begged more questions than they answered, promoting and suggesting an incorrect interpretation about how and why the government issued a blanket guarantee in September 2008.

Michael McHugh, Press Association

Online Editors

Also in Business