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Ken Drumm found personally liable for €58,000 debt

BUSINESSMAN Ken Drumm, a brother of former Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm, is personally liable for a €58,000 debt arising out of a vehicle leasing agreement.

Entering judgment for €58,000 against Mr Drumm yesterday, the High Court's Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne was however also critical of a bank's "extremely careless" preparation of paperwork for the lease agreement.

Mr Drumm had disputed he was personally liable under the agreement with Lombard Ireland Ltd and argued the lease was made with a company, Shrewsbury Developments Ltd (SDL), with which he was involved.

Ms Justice Dunne rejected his arguments in her judgment yesterday.

While there was no doubt the bank was "extremely careless" preparing its paperwork for the lease agreement, the documents did reflect a proposal by SDL to take over the lease was rejected by the bank, she said.

Having considered the evidence of Mr Drumm and the bank, the judge found a bank official had told Mr Drumm the proposal from Shrewsbury was rejected.

She was also satisfied there was a proposal from Mr Drumm personally which was accepted by the bank and the lease agreement was with Mr Drumm by September 2008 at the latest.

In all the circumstances, the bank was entitled to judgment against Mr Drumm, she ruled.

The judge had adjourned the case at one point to allow the bank produce the original direct debit mandate related to the lease agreement but the bank was unable to locate it.

The court also heard, prior to the 2008 lease agreement, there was a prior lease agreement related to the same vehicle with Okohaus Ltd, of which Mr Drumm was a director. He signed that earlier lease on behalf of Okohaus, plus a guarantee for liabilities of Okohaus under that lease.

In March 2008, Okohaus asked the bank to recover possession of the vehicle as it (Okohaus) would no longer be able to make payments. Okohaus went into liquidation in March 2008.

The judge said it was clear Lombard Ireland did not take possession of the vehicle and there was "no clear evidence" why not. What was clear was that, sometime before March 31, 2008, Mr Drumm decided the vehicle might be of use to SDL.

There was no dispute a proposal was made for Shrewsbury to take a lease on the vehicle but there was a dispute about what happened after that, she said. They particularly disputed whether the April 2008 lease agreement was with SDL or Mr Drumm personally.

The judge said there were several "curious elements" to the matter and noted much of Mr Drumm's complaints centred on the lack of documents from the bank concerning its dealings with him between March 31 and April 3, 2008.

On the day the lease agreement was signed, a bank official was detained from turning up for an arranged meeting with Mr Drumm and that led to Mr Drumm being permitted and facilitated by Lombard in signing a blank document, the judge found.

It was surprising Mr Drumm, an experienced businessman, should sign a lease agreement for such a large sum without any details on the agreement, the judge said. It was "all the more surprising" Lombard had not ensured any agreement signed by a customer was appropriately filled in in advance, the judge added.