Thursday 14 December 2017

Ministers tell Drumm to return and face questioning

Tom Brady and Colm Kelpie

TWO ministers have called on former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm to come home to face questioning about its collapse rather than making complaints from the US about the coverage of his now infamous telephone comments.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter yesterday urged Mr Drumm to return here to answer questions gardai want to put to him as part of their criminal investigation.

And in Brussels, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the disgraced banker should come back to co-operate with the proposed Oireachtas inquiry.

They were responding to Mr Drumm's weekend statement in which he criticised the disclosure of the contents of the Anglo Tapes by the Irish Independent and 'Sunday Independent'.

Gardai have been powerless to take action against Mr Drumm because they cannot seek his extradition from the US to face questioning about a suspected crime.

Gardai can only secure an extradition warrant from the courts if they can guarantee that a suspect will be charged with an offence if he is brought back to this country.

After several attempts to set up a meeting with Mr Drumm either here or in a "neutral" country, gardai decided to send a detailed file on the ex-banker to the Director of Public Prosecutions without interviewing him.

A decision by the DPP on whether Mr Drumm should face criminal charges here is understood to be in the final stages of consideration.

Mr Shatter said: "I do believe he should co-operate with An Garda Siochana, as he has been requested to do, and make himself available to answer any questions that remain to be answered in the context of the investigation."

Mr Shatter said he was very conscious, as Justice Minister, that the public obviously wanted to know what exactly had taken place.

He said the information disclosed in the Anglo Tapes had given a very interesting insight into the mindset of some of the individuals in Anglo.

"I think their contempt for both the financial regulatory system, and their lack of concern as to how their conduct might impact generally on people throughout the country, on the country itself, on its reputation, and on our banking system, has annoyed and shocked very many people".

Asked if he believed a garda investigation should be held into the leaking of the Anglo Tapes, Mr Shatter said he was very conscious there were proceedings taking place in relation to Anglo with three people at present before the courts.


The gardai had undertaken a very, very substantial investigation and there were currently files with the DPP, he said.

He said he was also very conscious that some years ago someone in politics was greatly applauded on commenting on an individual, who was heading into the courts, and that comment had resulted in the criminal charge not being successfully prosecuted.

In his weekend statement, Mr Drumm accused politicians and senior officials of making him a scapegoat for the banking crisis and criticised the "drip, drip, drip" disclosure of the phone tapes.

Ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers, Mr Noonan said if Mr Drumm had something to say, then the inquiry was the place to do it.

"I think the inquiry will ask him to return and I think it would be appropriate, if he wants to say something to set the record straight, as he sees it, then the place to do it is at the forthcoming inquiry when he is summoned."

Irish Independent

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