Thursday 29 September 2016

Day of reckoning finally here for David Drumm?

Published 12/10/2015 | 02:30

David Drumm
David Drumm

David Drumm did not know the day or the hour.

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But he would have known that, sooner or later, US marshals would come knocking at the door of his $2m (€1.75m) home in the upmarket Boston suburb of Wellesley, where he has been living for the past five years.

The Dubliner will have been preparing for this day since January, when Irish authorities formally sought his extradition to face up to 30 false accounting and fraud charges.

In recent months, the former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive has been rumoured to have been reaching out to developers, many of whom were supported by Anglo in the past, in a bid to set up a "fighting fund" to contest any attempt to extradite him.

The signs are that Mr Drumm (48) intended to dig in and fight any attempt to bring him before the Irish courts.

In the rare interviews he has given, Mr Drumm has rehearsed some of the arguments we are likely to hear as the extradition case plays out over the coming weeks. He has claimed he cannot get a fair trial due to publicity he has received and that he has been "criminalised" by sections of the media and by politicians.

Mr Drumm also argues he has unfairly been made a scapegoat for all of the misfortunes the country has gone through since 2008.

Whatever the merits of these arguments, the case is more likely to hinge on the intricacies of extradition law and, specifically, whether the charges he is facing in Ireland correspond to offences in the US.

The scene is now set for a huge legal battle, beginning tomorrow, when he will be taken from custody and formally brought before a court. Mr Drumm is no stranger to legal battles and is already fighting the decision of a Boston judge to deny him bankruptcy protection.

Despite what can only be described as a hugely damning ruling that Mr Drumm told "outright lies", was "not remotely credible" and failed to disclose the transfer of over €1m in assets to his wife, Lorraine, he intends to appeal and has enlisted the services of Tracy Miner, one of Boston's leading criminal defence lawyers. Mr Drumm's self-imposed exile in the US began in 2009. Around six months after he quit as Anglo chief executive, he, his wife and their two daughters decamped to Chatham in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The banker knew the area well. Before he took the reins at Anglo, he spent several years as the bank's man in nearby Boston.

While the family lived in a $4.6m (€4m) waterfront mansion in Chatham, he set up a consultancy firm in Boston's Dorchester district.

During 2009, Mr Drumm returned to Ireland twice. The newly nationalised Anglo wanted to get back €8.5m he borrowed from the bank while he was its boss. Mr Drumm had bought Anglo shares with the cash, but these were now worthless.

By October 2010, any pretence the loans could be repaid was given up when Mr Drumm filed for bankruptcy with total debts of around €10m. His perilous financial situation did not stop Mr Drumm from living a very comfortable life. The house in Wellesley was bought early in 2010 through a property trust, an instrument often used to protect an asset from creditors.

Both of his daughters were attending private schools. Mr Drumm and his wife drove a €41,400 Mercedes and a €56,300 SUV. But the high life could not go on forever. At the time of filing for bankruptcy, Mr Drumm's monthly outgoings exceeded his income by $1,168 (€1,030). He also had credit card debts of more than €35,000.

The financial noose became progressively tighter as the bankruptcy process took hold. The Drumms lost their house in Chatham and another, worth around €2m, in Malahide, Co Dublin. Other assets were also sold.

The bankruptcy trustee handling his case discovered that large sums had been transferred to Lorraine Drumm not long before he filed for bankruptcy. None of these transfers had been disclosed. Mr Drumm would later blame this omission on his former legal advisors.

While all this was going on, investigations by gardaí and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement into matters at Anglo had reached their conclusion. Mr Drumm refused a number of requests to return home for questioning, but this did not stop the DPP from deciding he should be charged. Whether or not he will be sent home to face those charges will be decided soon in a US courtroom.


Irish Independent

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