Drumm's US sanctuary to end as gardai seek extradition
Former head of bank has ignored requests to come home since moving to US in 2008
Gardai are preparing to issue a warrant for the extradition of disgraced Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm from the US to bring him to face criminal charges here.
The Irish Independent can reveal that a preliminary court hearing of the extradition case will take place in the United States next month.
Officers from the garda national fraud bureau have been involved in close consultation with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The provisional warrant is in the process of being sent to the US, where Mr Drumm has been living since he left the country in 2008. It will be processed by the authorities there before the initial court hearing.
Mr Drumm is expected to vigorously fight any attempt to force him to return.
He stepped down as chief executive of Anglo in December 2008 and filed for bankruptcy in the US in October 2010.
He has ignored repeated requests from gardai to co-operate with their inquiries.
Fraud bureau officers had hoped in 2010 that Mr Drumm would make himself available voluntarily for interview here, as he was expected to come back to Dublin for civil proceedings in the courts. But he did not return on that occasion.
He had been in contact in the early stages with gardai through a third party after detectives started their investigation into the Anglo affair in 2009 - but then ignored subsequent calls to meet the officers.
Senior garda officers eventually decided in the autumn of 2011, in consultation with lawyers from the DPP's office, to complete their file without input from Mr Drumm.
Lack of a response from Mr Drumm did not definitively rule out a prosecution, if the evidence was there to warrant it.
But the DPP’s office in the past had indicated that a person should be given an opportunity to respond to any allegations being made.
It also said that those responses should then be included in a garda file for consideration by the DPP before any decision on prosecution could be taken.
However, in this case, it was decided that gardai had taken all reasonable steps to contact Mr Drumm.
In July last year, Mr Drumm gave an interview in the US in which he criticised the disclosure of the contents of the Anglo Irish tapes by the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent.
The remarks prompted calls by three government ministers to Mr Drumm to fly home to be interviewed.
Alan Shatter, who was then the Minister for Justice, said: “I do believe he should co-operate with An Garda Siochana, as he has been requested to do.
“He should make himself available to answer any questions that remain to be answered in the context of the investigation that is taking place.” Mr Drumm accused politicians and senior officials of making him a scapegoat for the banking crisis.
The former banking chief also criticised the “drip, drip, drip” release of secret phone recordings made at Anglo in 2008 at the height of the financial debacle.
Under the law, the authorities here cannot seek his extradition from another jurisdiction to face questioning about a suspected crime.
Gardai can only be handed an extradition warrant by the courts if they can guarantee that the suspect will be charged with a specific offence, if brought back to this country.
It is understood that bureau officers recommended a number of fraud charges in their file to the DPP.
Mr Drumm took over from Sean FitzPatrick as Anglo chief executive in January 2005 and held the position until December 2008.
Earlier this year two other Anglo executives, Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer, were convicted of providing illegal loans to the so-called Maple 10 group of investors.
During the trial, Judge Martin Nolan described Mr Drumm as the author of the loans for shares transaction.
And senior counsel Brendan Grehan, who represented Mr Whelan, described Mr Drumm’s absence from the court as being like Hamlet without the prince.