Sunday 21 January 2018

Accounting and conspiracy charges awaiting Drumm

Disgraced banker's extradition is still 'under active consideration' by the US authorities

David Drumm arriving at the bankruptcy court in Boston
David Drumm arriving at the bankruptcy court in Boston

Shane Phelan, Dearbhail McDonald and John Downing

Disgraced banker David Drumm is facing false accounting and conspiracy to defraud charges, the Irish Independent has learned.

Although gardaí secured a district court warrant for Mr Drumm's arrest several months ago, the nature of the charges he is facing had not been confirmed until now.

Informed sources have said Mr Drumm would face charges including false accounting and conspiracy to defraud should he be returned to Ireland from the US.

"His extradition is not being sought for the purpose of questioning, but so that he can be formally charged," said one informed source.

The former Anglo boss has been living in self-imposed exile in Massachusetts since 2009.

Details of the charges emerged as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) stepped in to head off the prospect of Mr Drumm giving evidence to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry.

The issue had threatened to collapse the inquiry, with its members deeply divided over whether the fugitive former Anglo Irish Bank boss should be allowed to appear before it via video link from the US.

However, legal advice received by the inquiry, as well as a request from the DPP for it not to call Mr Drumm, will mean he will not feature as a witness.

Mr Drumm has refused to comply with several requests to return to Ireland voluntarily to be questioned by gardaí investigating matters at the former bank in conjunction with the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

A substantial file outlining the proposed charges was submitted to US authorities via the Department of Foreign Affairs late last year, after gardaí had obtained a district court warrant for his arrest.

Sources said the request was still "under active consideration" by US officials "in consultation with Irish authorities".

The extradition request was made under a long-standing bilateral treaty between Ireland and the US.

Under the 1983 Washington Treaty a person can only be extradited if they are charged or have been convicted of an extraditable offence.

The offence involved must also have a minimum jail term of at least one year.

It is understood that extra information may have been requested by US authorities in recent months, prolonging the extradition process.

Observers said US officials would need to satisfy themselves that there was a substantial case against Mr Drumm before agreeing to his extradition.

They will also have to be satisfied that the planned charges Mr Drumm faces have an equivalent in the US system, known as correspondence.


Michael Forde SC, an expert on transnational criminal procedure, told the Irish Independent: "To get extradition out of the US, the requesting country must provide evidence of the underlying charge, not just details. That would be the principal difficulty.

"You don't have to actually prove the case, but you do have to show there is a substantial evidential basis for the case. You have to show your case is pretty strong."

Last week it emerged that Mr Drumm had filed a witness statement and offered to appear via video link following a request from the inquiry for him to give evidence.

However, the video hearing proposal split the 11-member committee, with two members threatening to walk.

Both Michael McGrath of Fianna Fáil and Eoghan Murphy of Fine Gael said a video hearing would be completely wrong.

They insisted Mr Drumm should appear in person and also co-operate with investigating gardaí.

The issue was resolved yesterday after lawyers for the inquiry committee advised against calling Mr Drumm.

The DPP also warned of the risk to ongoing investigations and court cases.

While Mr Drumm will not now be called, the committee will still have to consider what to do with his evidence statement.

Some members have already said former Taoiseach Brian Cowen should be recalled because the former Anglo boss's evidence raised questions about Mr Cowen's testimony.

One committee source said this matter would be discussed at a meeting today but a decision may be left until early September.

Meanwhile, a bankruptcy trustee has begun the process of distributing Mr Drumm's assets to creditors. The banker has debts of almost €11m.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business