Sunday 25 September 2016

Shane Phelan: Drumm now decides to come home - but only after running out of road

Published 08/02/2016 | 02:30

David Drumm. Photo: Bizuayehu Tesfaye
David Drumm. Photo: Bizuayehu Tesfaye

So David Drumm has finally decided he wants to come home. Gardaí have been asking him to come back for questioning for the past five years or more.

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But it took a spell inside a cell at a maximum security US prison to get the former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive to make up his mind. The Dubliner has been languishing in custody since being arrested by US Marshals at his €1.75m home near Boston last October.

He has tried every conceivable avenue in a bid to be freed on bail pending the outcome of an extradition hearing on March 1.

A pleading letter was written by his elderly mother.

He offered to remain under house arrest and wear and ankle bracelet. Friends agreed to put up their homes to guarantee his bail bond.

All to no avail. None of the judges could be swayed.

In recent weeks, the 49-year-old complained about the hardship of prison life and how it was affecting his efforts to prepare his defence against the 33 charges he is set to face in Ireland. A Boston judge who dismissed his application for bail wryly noted that prison isn't supposed to be pleasant.

All of the experts who looked at the case agreed - he does not have a snowball's chance in hell of getting released on bail.

He is considered a flight risk and has shown himself to be dishonest in his dealings with a bankruptcy court, so there was no reason why any of the judges felt they should believe him now.

Mr Drumm has now done the only thing he could do. He has decided to come back.

But true to form, he has tried to do it on his own terms. An initial offer to return was contingent on the Director of Public Prosecutions agreeing not to oppose any bail application he makes in Dublin.

Quite rightly, the DPP has not consented to any deal. After all, Mr Drumm's refusal to come home earlier than now has caused considerable delay and expense to those investigating issues at Anglo.

Also true to form is the former Anglo boss's attempt to deflect blame onto others - before he has even set foot in an Irish courtroom.

In an interview published yesterday, he pledged that the "names, roles and detailed activities" of people in the Irish Government would form part of the story he tells.

We have been here before with Mr Drumm.

When a bankruptcy judge found he told "outright lies" over asset transfers to his wife worth €1m, Mr Drumm's response was to deflect blame elsewhere, claiming he received bad advice from his then legal team.

Those chasing him for the millions of euro in debts he owes have also got the bum's rush. Creditors, most notably the taxpayer-owned IBRC, are likely to get around 15pc of what they are owed.

It should be noted too, that it is only now, almost seven years after he declared himself bankrupt, that they are about to get this cash.

This is due in no small part to the sheer effort involved in investigating his finances, amid accusations he fraudulently moved cash to his wife. So far almost €1.3m has had to be spent by a bankruptcy trustee unravelling that puzzle.

Irish Independent

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