Saturday 15 December 2018

Drumm is given suspended sentence over loans

Sean Quinn. Photo: PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images
Sean Quinn. Photo: PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images

Eimear Cotter and Shane Phelan

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has received a 15-month suspended sentence for providing unlawful loans to a group of businessmen known as the 'Maple 10'.

Judge Karen O'Connor said the defendant was in a "position of trust" in the bank, that he was the "instigator" of the scheme and the markets were misled.

However, she said Drumm's guilty plea had been of considerable assistance in what would have been a "lengthy and complex" trial.

The sentence was suspended for a period of 15 months on the defendant's own bond of €100. He is also automatically disqualified from serving as the director of a company for five years.

Drumm (51), from Skerries, north Dublin, is already serving a six-year sentence for false accounting and a €7.2bn conspiracy to defraud.

Wearing blue jeans, a white polo T-shirt and a green fleece sweatshirt, Drumm did not react when the sentence was handed down.

Last month, Drumm pleaded guilty before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to giving unlawful financial assistance to 10 businessmen so they could buy shares in the bank during the 2008 financial crisis.

Judge O'Connor heard evidence yesterday that the loans were given to unwind a massive secret stake that businessman Sean Quinn had built up in the bank using financial instruments known as contracts for difference (CFDs).

Stake

These allowed Mr Quinn to bet on the performance of the shares without actually owning them, but in reality he effectively had a 25pc stake in the bank.

Detective Sergeant Brian Mahon agreed with prosecution counsel, Paul O'Higgins SC, that after Drumm learned of the scale of the CFD position there was concern within Anglo it would affect the stability of the bank's share price. Drumm then made efforts to find buyers for the shares in the Middle East and the US.

When none could be found, a scheme was arranged where Anglo issued loans to Quinn family members to buy a 15pc shareholding and to 10 wealthy clients of the bank to buy the remaining 10pc.

Sgt Mahon said that although paperwork was handled by Anglo staff, the transactions were instigated by Drumm, who he described as being "at the helm" of what had occurred.

A total of €451m in loans was issued to the so-called 'Maple 10' to buy the shares. There is no suggestion any of them did anything wrong.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC had asked the judge to given Drumm "full allowance for his plea of guilt".

After a previous trial over the loans, two other former Anglo executives were sentenced to 240 hours' community service.

In a statement, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) said its Anglo-related investigations had resulted in multiple persons being brought to account before the criminal courts.

"Those outcomes clearly evidence there is both the appetite and capability on the part of the ODCE to tackle serious criminal wrongdoing", said the office.

The Anglo-related investigations were "enormously resource intensive" and with those matters now finished, the ODCE said it looked forward to deploying "its specialist resources to the investigation of other serious indications of wrongdoing".

Irish Independent

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