FORMER Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has finally broken his silence, claiming sensationally that every step he and his board of directors took in the bank's dying days was taken "hand in hand" and with the full knowledge of the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent from his Boston home, Mr Drumm also said he took full responsibility for everything he had done during his time as the bank's chief executive --but added that the Financial Regulator's office, the Central Bank and their "political bosses" must now do so too.
"I would say to you at a human level, there isn't a day goes by, all day and sometimes all night . . . I'm haunted by what we as a bank, as the management, as the board of the bank, could have done differently to not end up where we ended up," said Mr Drumm.
Asked what he would say to the ordinary Irish taxpayer who has been left to pick up the bill for the bailout of Anglo and the other Irish Banks -- estimated at a total of €51bn -- Mr Drumm said he was "sick to his stomach" about what had happened.
"If people could understand how truly sick to my stomach I am about all of the people I know in Ireland who are suffering, that have lost their jobs and are just generally in despair because they can't pay their mortgages.
"I have friends and people [in Ireland] who I worked with and whom I speak to every single day, who live with it every day.
"I came from a very ordinary background. My father was a truck driver. He raised eight kids. My mother saw very hard times, because if you think about it today, trying to raise eight kids on a truck driver's wage, it's not even imaginable how that was done.
"I'm not that far from understanding what's going on in peoples' lives. I'm sick to my stomach, frankly, about what's happened to our country. I'm sick to my stomach about what's happened to a bank which for 20 years did so well and contributed to the country in the way it did.
"It's a terrible calamity and a poster child for everything that's happened to our country and I have to live with that every day. But I genuinely am horrified by what has happened."
Asked if he would continue to co-operate with the several authorities -- including the gardai -- currently investigating matters at Anglo Irish Bank, Mr Drumm insisted that he would.
"My position has been consistent from the very start: that I will co-operate with all agencies. Despite the spin in the national papers, I am in very regular contact with all of them and I have sworn testimony to one agency and made submissions to another.
"I look forward very much to continuing to be co-operative and getting all the information that all the investigating agencies need to get the full story here," he said.
Mr Drumm reiterated that he had acted properly at all times during his tenure as Anglo chief executive.
He also claimed that he had done so with the "full knowledge" and "full co-operation" of both the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank.
Commenting on Anglo Irish Bank's pursuit of him over the €8.5m that he owes in director's loans, Mr Drumm expressed his view that the bank's new regime had effectively been "hamstrung by political considerations" and would have taken his offer of all his assets and pension fund were it not for this.
He said: "I have to believe that if you took those political considerations out, that the bank would absolutely have taken my offer because (otherwise) it makes no commercial sense."
Mr Drumm was asked what the future held for him, now that he has applied for bankruptcy in the US.
He replied: "So many things have been thrown at me now. I'm a bankrupt. I could never have imagined that would happen to me. I've got young children. It's about getting through today and tomorrow.
"I have to figure out now how to look after my family. That's my job. It's impossible to think of the future without just thinking of surviving, to be honest with you."