FROM the breathless coverage of David Drumm's lunge for bankruptcy last night, the casual observer could easily form the view that Anglo Irish Bank's chiefs are complete morons.
Drumm, the Anglo chief who led the bank to its collapse, had apparently offered it assets totalling €10m to clear debts of €8m.
The settlement, which included the banker's €5.4m pension pot, was knocked back and the bank ploughed on with a legal action that is due to start in the Four Courts on Tuesday.
Drumm, who lives in Massachusetts, then beat a path to the US bankruptcy courts in a move that could put his pension plan permanently out of Anglo's reach.
The apparent result for the taxpayer? Another €5.4m flushed down the Anglo black hole, since Drumm had offered the bank the pension pot that the US courts will now protect.
That's on top of the €39bn or so we're already ploughing into the damn place. Morons, that Anglo lot, clearly.
The reality, though, is a bit more complex.
No one disputes the fact that Drumm made a settlement offer to Anglo and that it included his sizable pension pot.
What is disputed is how much Drumm's settlement offer was actually worth.
Camp Drumm say the assets the banker was offering were worth €2m more than he owed the bank.
It's an extraordinary claim. Think about it. If you owed the bank €200,000 on your mortgage, would you offer them €250,000 to repay it?
Why on earth would Drumm, the defiant chap who famously ordered RTE's Charlie Bird off his lawn a few months back, be offering to give the bank an extra €2m?
And if the management of cash-strapped Anglo were offered €10m to clear an €8m loan, why on earth would they not just take it and be done with the whole thing?
Camp Drumm argues that the stress of it all was getting to him and that he just wanted it to end, so he could get on with his life in peace.
He bent over backwards, they claim, offering the bank everything bar his clothes and jewellery -- but still Anglo's management weren't happy.
The undertone is that Anglo rejected Drumm's generous offer because they couldn't be seen to reach any kind of "settlement" with a man who has such a troubled history with the bank.
After all, this is the guy who was at the helm when Anglo ran so disastrously askew that it had to be nationalised, exposing the State to losses of up to €43bn.
Other sources, though, cast things in a different light.
They say that Anglo rejected Drumm's offer for one reason and one reason only -- it wasn't enough.
"Anglo wanted to get every penny back," said one source. "He didn't offer that."
Anglo and Drumm see the numbers very differently. Camp Drumm is heavily implying that the former banker's €5.4m pension pot would be worth €5.4m to Anglo.
Other sources dismiss this as nonsense. Anyone paying into a pension gets tax relief -- but tax has to be paid when the pension is drawn down.
"Straight away, there's half the pension gone," said one source.
Others point out that the pension assets may not be worth as much as Drumm thinks they are, making the shortfall even bigger.
Drumm's numbers may also include an acceptance by Anglo that it owes him some €2.6m in salary, pension and deferred bonuses which the former banker has been chasing through the courts.
Anglo last night refused to be drawn on the size of the gulf between what the bank believes Drumm's settlement was worth and the €10m that Drumm's camp suggests.
A good starting point, however, is the €2.6m in disputed payments and the €2.5m or so difference in how the pension pot is valued.
It takes a few steps but it's simple enough.
Add the €2.6m payments and the €2.5m pension difference, and you get about €5m. Knock that €5m off Drumm's €10m offer, and you're left with a settlement of €5m.
That's €5m to pay off loans of €8m -- is that something only a moron of a bank manager would refuse?
The true figures may never be known as client confidentiality and legal niceties kick in and put hard facts beyond the reach of Anglo's taxpayer owners.
Really, it's up to every individual to make up their own mind on whether they think Anglo refused to allow its fallen chief executive to overpay his loans.
They also have to decide whether Drumm, who has refused to co-operate with a garda investigation into events at Anglo, offered to toss the bank an extra €2m so that he could have a bit of peace.
While Anglo was staying quiet last night, comments from the Department of Finance, the bank's de facto owner, offer a little perspective on the murky situation.
"The minister has been clear that the bank should pursue all debts owing to it," a spokesman said last night, responding to queries on the Drumm debacle.
"It's a matter for the bank's legal team to assess this latest development and to take whatever action it has to take to protect the bank's and the taxpayer's interest."
Does that sound like the kind of comment the Department would be making if Anglo had just frittered away millions more by refusing Drumm's generous offer?