Monday 23 October 2017

Drumm has 'little chance of avoiding extradition'

US legal experts predict the fugitive banker will be returned to Ireland even if it takes years, writes Shane Phelan

IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: Lawyers believe David Drumm will eventually be extradited to Ireland from the US but it could take some time
IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: Lawyers believe David Drumm will eventually be extradited to Ireland from the US but it could take some time
Lorraine Drumm, wife of former Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Fugitive banker David Drumm will most likely fail in his bid to avoid extradition, but the case could take months if not years to conclude, leading US lawyers have said.

Extradition expert Douglas McNabb predicted the arguments made by Mr Drumm against his extradition would be rejected.

"It is very difficult from a defence position to win extradition proceedings. Very difficult, but not impossible," he told the Sunday Independent.

The former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive is currently in custody in Massachusetts after being arrested last weekend by US marshals.

His legal team has claimed efforts to extradite him to Ireland to face 33 charges, ranging from fraud to false accounting, were for "a political purpose".

The charges all date from 2008, when Mr Drumm was at the helm of the bank.

Mr Drumm himself has also claimed he cannot get a fair trial due to adverse media coverage.

But Mr McNabb, a Texas law professor and extradition lawyer, said: "He will lose on both of those issues."

He said the "political purpose" argument could only work in extreme circumstances, such as where the alleged crimes were perpetrated as part of a political uprising.

Mr McNabb said he believed an argument based around media coverage would also fail to persuade the judge to refuse extradition.

Although the extradition proceedings currently underway could be decided upon within 60 to 90 days and there is no automatic right of appeal, the process will take much longer should Mr Drumm's lawyers issue a habeas corpus writ, alleging unlawful detention.

This would be dealt with by the United States Court of Appeals and, in the event of failing there, an application can also be made to the United States Supreme Court.

Ultimately, a final appeal can also be made directly to US Secretary of State John Kerry, who must approve all extraditions once they are certified by the courts.

"If all those avenues are exhausted, it can take a couple of years," said Mr McNabb, an adjunct professor at the South Texas College of Law.

However, the Houston-based lawyer said that if Mr Drumm went down that path, he would also be prolonging his custody in the US.

A detention hearing, where Mr Drumm's lawyer Tracy Miner will argue he be released on bail, is scheduled for tomorrow week.

Mr McNabb said Mr Drumm was highly unlikely to be set free pending the outcome of the extradition process.

"The big thing from a US perspective is if we leave this guy out on bail and if he takes off, that is going to hurt our relationship with Ireland," he said. "I would be shocked if he is released on bond."

However, another extradition expert, Atlanta lawyer Meg Strickler told the Sunday Independent it was possible Mr Drumm could be released on strict bail conditions.

"My guess is they will let him out on bond. He will have to surrender any passports he has. He'll probably have to have an ankle monitor with GPS tracking," she said.

"They could very well place him under house arrest which means he has to stay at home, except for medical appointments and court appearances.

"There is no way on God's green earth they would let him out without these conditions."

While the experts differed on the bail issue, Ms Strickler concurred that Mr Drumm had little chance of avoiding extradition.

"I think he will be extradited. I don't see why the US would keep him," she said.

"The political interference argument is probably the best argument he can make in his circumstances.

"A political interference argument will have to be fully considered. But truthfully, I don't think it will fly.

"The facts are the facts and he will be extradited if it can be demonstrated there is a case to be made that he had his hand in the cookie jar.

"They don't have to prove the case. They just need to demonstrate that there is a substantial case against him, and that the laws are comparable with those in the US."

She too predicted a slow process if Mr Drumm was to launch a series of appeals.

"If he gets to a Court of Appeals, that takes time, said Ms Strickler.

"My experience has been that it can be slower than Dickens. It could take months."

Mr Drumm appeared in handcuffs and shackles at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston on Tuesday for a brief hearing before being returned to custody.

He only spoke briefly at the hearing to say: "Good morning, your honour."

His wife Lorraine was present in court, but made no comment to waiting media afterwards.

Mr Drumm will not appear in court again until the detention hearing on October 26.

After that, a status hearing has been scheduled for November 10 to determine how long the proceedings will take.

Both sides have been told by Judge Donald Cabell they must have shared all necessary documents by that stage as part of the discovery process.

Sunday Independent

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