Tuesday 17 October 2017

Ex-bank chief Drumm is next target for fraud squad

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

FORMER Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm is the next key target for the garda fraud bureau team investigating alleged financial wrongdoing at the scandal-hit lender.

Mr Drumm was a member of the top management trio in the bank during the timeframe under joint investigation by gardai and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

It is likely gardai will now attempt to make contact with Mr Drumm, who is living in the US, to invite him to make himself available voluntarily for interview by fraud officers.

It is also expected more arrests will be carried out as investigators turn their attention to the next layer of management in the bank at the time.

Details of the new moves in the lengthy and complex inquiry were revealed last night as detectives continued to question Anglo's former finance director and chief risk officer, Willie McAteer, about the alleged irregularities.

Custody

He is likely to remain in custody for further questioning until this afternoon and then released without charge, pending further inquiries and the completion of an overall file for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Last week the third member of the trio, former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick, was also detained overnight for questioning about his alleged role.

Mr Drumm lives in a luxury house, which he bought for $4.6m (€3.04m) in March 2008, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

But he is known to have flown back to Dublin at least twice in the past year to discuss his financial loans with representatives of Anglo.

Gardai have a number of options open to them to facilitate questioning of Mr Drumm and are expected to seek his return voluntarily from the US.

This could be achieved by making contact through his solicitors or else seeking the co-operation of the local police force in Cape Cod to issue the request on their behalf.

Gardai cannot seek his extradition unless they are able to persuade the US courts that they are in a position to press charges against him.

He cannot be extradited under the law for the purpose of questioning only.

Efforts to contact Mr Drumm last night were not successful.

The two arrests so far follow inquiries by gardai, who are looking for evidence of any breaches of the Companies Act and the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001. A person found guilty of offences under the legislation faces a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

The garda investigation, led by assistant commissioner Derek Byrne, has been focusing on the movement of €7.45bn in deposits between Anglo Irish and Irish Life & Permanent to bolster Anglo's books and the controversial loan of €450m to a "golden circle" of 10 investors to buy bank shares.

Mr McAteer (59) was arrested by members of the fraud bureau at his home in Auburn Villas in Rathgar on the southside of Dublin at 6.30am.

During a detailed search of the house detectives seized computers, disks, files and a large amount of other documentation.

Mr McAteer was detained and taken for questioning to Irishtown garda station.

He was held initially for six hours and his period of detention extended for a further six at lunchtime.

A second extension order was signed last night by a garda chief superintendent.

After breaks for food and rest, as well as consultations with his solicitor, it is expected his detention period will last until around lunchtime today before the gardai must decide whether to charge or release him.

It is likely Mr McAteer will be released, but a file will not be sent to the DPP until the full investigation has been completed by the gardai and the officials from the office of corporate enforcement director Paul Appleby.

Mr McAteer joined Anglo Irish Bank in 1990 and in a 2003 report was described as the highest-paid listed finance director in the State.

According to the report, his pay packet amounted to €1.216m, putting him €431,000 ahead of the next finance director on the list. He resigned from his post in January last year.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan yesterday said he did not want to say anything that might prejudice an eventual prosecution.

"Clearly, justice has to take its course here and I have always pointed out that the garda investigation here and the investigation carried out in the Office of Corporate Enforcement is wide ranging and comprehensive," Mr Lenihan added.

Irish Independent

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