Thursday 22 March 2018

David Drumm spends night in jail after his return to Ireland

Court is expected to release ex-banker on bail today

David Drumm leaving Dublin Airport yesterday morning after arriving from Boston. Photo: Mark Condren
David Drumm leaving Dublin Airport yesterday morning after arriving from Boston. Photo: Mark Condren
David Drumm steps back on to Irish soil at Dublin Airport yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

David Drumm spent his first night back in Ireland behind bars - but is set to be freed today once bail sureties totalling €150,000 are given to a court.

The former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive was remanded to Cloverhill Prison following a dramatic day which saw him arrested and charged with serious offences after he returned to Ireland following seven years in the US.

Less than an hour-and-a-half after Aer Lingus flight EI136 from Boston had touched down at Dublin Airport yesterday morning, Mr Drumm found himself being formally charged with 33 offences, including fraud, conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

A lengthy court hearing followed, at which lawyers for the State strenuously argued that he should be refused bail.

However, at Dublin District Court, Judge Michael Walsh sided with a defence application that Mr Drumm be freed pending the outcome of his trial.

As part of the bail conditions, Mr Drumm will have to live at an address in Skerries, Co Dublin and sign on twice daily at Balbriggan Garda Station.

He will also have to surrender his passport.

The former banker will have to provide a personal cash surety of €50,000, which must be lodged to the court.

An independent surety of €100,000 must also be offered, half of which must be in cash, with the remainder kept in a bank account and frozen until the case is completed.

Remanding Mr Drumm in custody, Judge Walsh said the bail issue could be "tidied up" today. Mr Drumm looked visibly relieved at the decision and took the stand to tell the judge the address he intended to live at.

He also said his passport was in the possession of gardaí and that he would not apply for a replacement one.

Earlier, the court heard that Mr Drumm was arrested at Dublin Airport at 5.30am following his extradition from the US. He was conveyed to Ballymun Garda Station, where two charges were put to him by Det Sgt Michael McKenna of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) at 6.35am.

Mr Drumm made no comment to either of the charges.

Det Sgt Michael Prendergast, an officer seconded to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) from the GBFI, gave evidence of 31 further charges he put to Mr Drumm at the garda station at 6.39am.

He said Mr Drumm made no reply to any of the charges.

Det Sgt McKenna then applied to have Mr Drumm remanded in custody. He said he believed that Mr Drumm was "a serious risk of flight for a number of reasons". These included the seriousness of the charges and the likelihood of a lengthy sentence on conviction, with some counts carrying terms of up to 10 years and others carrying an indefinite term in jail.

Det Sgt McKenna said there was a large group of witnesses involved, between 110 and 120 in relation to the two charges he had put to Mr Drumm.

The case was also built on a large quantity of emails, audio recordings, minutes of up to 15 company meetings and other correspondence, he said.

Det Sgt McKenna said that another ground for opposing bail was Mr Drumm's conduct when he refused requests to meet gardaí and the ODCE while living in the US.

Evidence was given of a lengthy series of letters exchanged between lawyers for Mr Drumm and senior gardaí and the ODCE in 2009 and 2010. Offers were made to meet Mr Drumm in Ireland and the US, but ultimately he turned these down, the court heard.

Det Sgt McKenna said he believed Mr Drumm's ties to this jurisdiction were "tenuous".

Mr Drumm had gone into "voluntary exile" and his immediate family remained in the US.

The detective sergeant said that despite the fact Mr Drumm had debts of over €8.5m, he seemed to be able to marshal large sums of money when required.

However, Mr Drumm's solicitor, Michael Staines, told the court that other people facing similar charges to those facing his client had all been granted bail. Mr Drumm was not a flight risk. If he had wished to flee, he could have gone "two hours up the road" to Canada, which has no extradition agreement with Ireland.

Mr Staines said that without bail, his client would face many months in custody as his trial could not begin until "halfway through 2017" due to other Anglo cases.

There were huge amounts of documents to be disclosed and he would need access to computers and equipment. One element of the case involved some 400 hours of phone records alone, the solicitor said.

In making his decision, Judge Walsh said that while it was clear that Mr Drumm had refused to return home for questioning, he had to be mindful of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the constitutional presumption of bail.

He also said he needed to be mindful of the complexity of the case, which will involve a voluminous amount of paperwork and consultation with lawyers.

A whirlwind day . . .

5.14am: Aer Lingus flight from Boston arrives at Dublin Airport.

5.30am: Mr Drumm is arrested at the Airport by Det Sgt Michael McKenna.

5.50am: The former Anglo Irish Bank boss arrives at Ballymun Garda Station.

6.35am: He is formally charged with two offences by Det Sgt McKenna.

6.39am: Mr Drumm is charged with 31 other offences by Det Sgt Michael Prendergast.

9.05am: Arrives at the Criminal Courts of Justice.

10.30am: Dublin District Court hears evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

3.15pm: David Drumm is given consent to bail and remanded overnight to Cloverhill.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News