Drumm says words taken out of context
Friends have rallied round the former Anglo chief who thinks he has been unfairly judged, writes Ronald Quinlan
FORMER Anglo chief David Drumm believes he has been wrongly judged by the Irish media and the public following the release of the now-infamous Anglo Tapes, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
But while the embattled banker has complained to friends and family that the content of his phone conversations with former Anglo executive John Bowe in the days leading up to and following the infamous bank's implosion are being taken out of context, he pointedly refused repeated requests from this newspaper to provide evidence to support that assertion.
Last Friday, a source close to Mr Drumm sought to explain his reluctance to provide a statement in which he might set out his defence, saying: "David doesn't want to deal with the Sunday Independent because he knows if he does, he's only going to bring the Irish Independent down on top of him even harder.
"It's an absolute disgrace the way he's been treated by the Irish media. He's being judged on the basis of seven or eight minutes of phone calls when there are over 250 hours of them."
Notwithstanding his refusal to engage with this newspaper, it is understood that Mr Drumm gave a phone interview to the publisher of the New York-based Irish Voice and the Irish Central website, Niall O'Dowd, in recent days in an effort to plead his case. The contents of that interview are widely expected to be reproduced in the Sunday Business Post today, given Mr O'Dowd's long-standing association with the newspaper as a contributor.
Mr O'Dowd – a brother of Fine Gael Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd – previously interviewed Mr Drumm in November 2011. In the course of that exchange, the former Anglo chief sought to explain the combination of dramatic events that had led to the downfall of his bank in 2008.
Among the issues raised by Mr Drumm in the interview were the difficulties the bank's management had in dealing with the unwinding of the Quinn family's huge stake in Anglo, as well as the wider problems posed by the credit crunch that followed in the wake of the collapse of investment giant Lehman Brothers.
Asked specifically if he would ever consider returning to Ireland, Mr Drumm said: "I would not be treated fairly. Ireland is a country that . . . I spent 16 years in the bank, I was beyond loyal to that bank, maybe too loyal, and a country that I believed in 100 per cent, marketed 100 per cent as I was marketing the bank, I was marketing the country everywhere I went. Now the way that I am being depicted by that country, by the country's media or participants, is completely and utterly unfair.
"I am here trying to make a living and raise my family, which I am entitled to do. Why would I go somewhere where politicians and ministers have more or less stated that there is a witch-hunt on and 'we're going to get him'? Why would somebody put their family at risk by signing up for that?"