Sunday 22 April 2018

Drumm in the US: how banker went from picket fences to shackled ankles

David Drumm and his wife Lorraine
David Drumm and his wife Lorraine

Shane Phelan

Stage Neck Road in Chatham is about as far away as you can get from the hustle and bustle of Boston without ending up in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was to here that David Drumm, the former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, spent weekends with his family after moving to the US in 2009.

The affluent cul-de-sac in Cape Cod contains a stunning array of beach-front properties, many offering panoramic views of the Oyster Pond River and, beyond that, Nantucket Sound.

The Drumms lived at No 262, a secluded 4,622sq ft, five-bedroom mansion.

Local real estate agents say the property features stunning high ceilings and a private beach. It cost the banker and his wife Lorraine $4.6m (€4m).

Massachusetts was an obvious choice for Mr Drumm to move to after leaving the bank amid considerable controversy in December 2008.

A decade earlier, he had helped establish the bank's US business there, living in Sudbury, 40km from Boston. The move proved so successful Anglo opened an office in New York.

Mr Drumm returned to Ireland triumphant and succeeded Sean FitzPatrick as the bank's boss in 2005.

His second coming to Massachusetts in 2009 was much more low key.

During the week, he worked in Boston, where his fledgling financial advisory firm had at least one former Anglo client on its books.

Chatham was a weekend retreat. Life was easy and laid back there. Mr Drumm was barely given a passing glance by locals on his regular trips to the Monomoy café on the town's main street.

Indeed, in his Boston Red Sox T-shirt and baseball cap, he fitted right in with the relaxed vibe. However, his peace there didn't last too long.

By March 2010, journalists from Ireland began arriving at his door.

Back home, gardaí and officials from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement were busy investigating matters at Anglo and questions were being asked about the whereabouts of Mr Drumm.

But then, as now, Mr Drumm wasn't one for answering questions.

A 'no-trespassers' sign was erected at No 262, soon followed by a high fence.

Mr Drumm was beginning to come under financial pressure as well, with Anglo seeking the repayment of €8.5m in loans that he used to buy shares in the bank.

He claims to have desperately tried to negotiate a settlement, but the bank refused to agree to his proposals. By October 2010, he had filed for bankruptcy and, through his bankruptcy trustee, initiated a lawsuit against Anglo for loss of earnings.

The trustee, Kathleen Dwyer, soon took a different view of things when she discovered Mr Drumm had concealed the transfer of around €1m worth of cash and assets to his wife.

A settlement was agreed, with Lorraine Drumm paying $1.3m (€1.1m) to avoid a legal action over alleged fraudulent transfers.

This saw the couple lose their prized weekend home in Chatham and a €2m mansion in Malahide, as well as other assets. However, they managed to hang on to a $2m (€1.75m) home in Wellesley, outside Boston.


Mr Drumm then faced a lengthy bankruptcy trial last year, culminating in a judge deciding last January that he should not receive bankruptcy protection because he had lied about the transfers to his wife.

While the bankruptcy battle played out in the US, Mr Drumm had also been refusing requests from gardaí that he return home.

Unbeknownst to him, a judge in Dublin had issued warrants for his arrest on June 27, 2013, on conspiracy and fraud charges.

These warrants were not forwarded to US authorities through diplomatic channels until late the following year.

The slow process which followed eventually resulted in an arrest warrant being issued for Mr Drumm by a Boston judge on October 5.

Last Saturday, that warrant was executed when patrolman Timothy Gover accompanied US marshals to Mr Drumm's house shortly after 1.30pm.

The banker opened the door to them and offered no resistance. According to the official police report, Mr Drumm was "booked" at Wellesley police station and "afforded all rights".

He stayed in a cell there for three nights before appearing at an initial extradition hearing in ankle shackles and handcuffs.

Since then he has been held at the Donald W Wyatt Detention Centre in Centre Falls, Rhode Island.

The facility does not allow contact family visits. The only ignominy he has been spared is that his mugshot has not been released. It is against Wellesley police policy to release booking photos.

Irish Independent

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