Wednesday 18 September 2019

David Drumm: 'I did not flee Ireland'

David Drumm
David Drumm

FORMER Anglo Irish bank boss David Drumm has told a US Judge that he “did not flee Ireland”, as he made an emotional plea to be released on bail while awaiting his extradition hearing.

Mr Drumm took to the stand in Boston during his bail hearing, to ask Judge Donald Cabell to release him under strict conditions pending the outcome of his extradition proceedings.

“I did not flee Ireland” he said, “I strongly reject the notion that I fled Ireland.”

Dressed in a grey track suit top, green pants and white trainers, Mr Drumm said the decision to move the family to Boston in 2008 after he resigned from Anglo Irish Bank was “instinctive,” because they had spent  five “wonderful years” in the city from 1998, setting up a U.S. arm for Anglo.

His signature glasses hung from the collar of his jumper as he told the Judge that it was “perhaps maybe the happiest time in our lives,”  he said and we had “our heart here for the longest time.”

When the family did relocate to the wealthy suburb of Wellesley, “I was free to come and go,” he told the court, adding that he returned to Ireland twice in 2009 to discuss his outstanding loans with his former employer.

The media attention the family received had been “unprecedented” with people knocking on the door and looking in the window, and said it had put immense pressure on his wife and two daughters.

“My children are not the better for that.”

Both his daughters and wife Lorraine became tearful as they say behind Mr Drumm during his testimony.

Mr Drumm said he had received phenomenal support from friends and his extended family in Ireland and spoke of how hard the past seven years had been, “It’s a big sacrifice to be an emigrant,” he said.

He has a large family in Ireland, he told the court, seven siblings and 25 grandchildren. His mother and Lorraine’s parents were still alive, in Ireland and “through the wonders of Skype you can talk to them, but it’s not the same.”

Mr Drumm said he learned through the media that extradition proceedings had been issued against him in January but he didn’t run then and had no intention of running now. 

He said “journalists were calling for it, never mind reporting it” and “political figures were screaming from the rafters to get him home.”

Pleading with Judge Donald Cabell to release him, however strict the restrictions may be, he pledged that he would not be a flight risk.

“I would be abandoning my wife of 24 years, abandoning my children, derailing their education.

The damage to me personally would be something I could not take.”

In seeking Mr Drumm’s incarceration while he awaits extradition, US Assistant United States Attorney Amy Burkart told the court that Mr Drumm, “cannot be trusted.”

A Judge in the same state of Massachusetts had deemed Mr Drumm to be “not remotely credible” and “knowingly fraudulent” following his failed bankruptcy bid earlier this year and that should be considered compelling.

Regarding the emotional letters submitted to the Court by family and Mr Drumm’s wife Lorraine, “there is nothing inconsistent with someone being a wonderful husband but also having committed a crime,” she said.

Dismissing any inference that Mr Drumm’s extradition was linked to the timing of Irish elections, Ms Burkart said that the proceedings had begun two years ago, “elections were far off.”

Mr Drumm felt that “special rules” should apply to him, Ms Burkart said, and that he had significantt assets and means to flee, and that he had down played his lifestyle in filings.

Mr Drumm has eight lawyers in Boston, New York and Ireland, that the Attorneys Office is aware of and his daughter attends one of the most expensive schools in the country, where tuition is $44,000 a year, all facts that were relevant in these proceedings, she told the court.

We’re about 3 hours south of Canadian border, she said there are “options for people who have means.”

One of Mr Drumm’s large legal team, Edward McNally cited several reasons that Mr Drumm should be allowed bail, including the delay from the Irish Government in  bringing charges, with the most recent evidence already “7 years old.”

The case could easily consume 2-4 years he said, and urged the Judge not to subject Mr Drumm to an “unrelentingly harsh prison sentence” for that long.

The Dubliner had come to America, to start a new life and was “running towards this country” for the same reason as people who had come the decades before him, Mr McNally said.

The U.S. is a country where people are “presumed innocent” and one where he not be “judged on rumour or innuendo or his politics,” he added.

“Judge, the Government doesn’t need this man in solitary confinement to lock him down.”

Judge Cabell took the arguments under advisement and will make a decision at a later date. He told the court he was keen to set a firm date for the extradition hearing and after some discussion, asked both sides to consider a date in February of next year.

“We do need to set a schedule and generate some momentum,” he finished.

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