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Martina Devlin: The sheer unadulterated avarice of the Drumms


While taxpayers at home have been left high and dry David and Lorraine Drumm have begun a new life in the United States

While taxpayers at home have been left high and dry David and Lorraine Drumm have begun a new life in the United States

While taxpayers at home have been left high and dry David and Lorraine Drumm have begun a new life in the United States

Remember back when greed was a vice? It used to be blacklisted as one of the seven deadly sins. Then greed became chic for a while, during the braggart years, until the new austerity pushed it out of fashion.

But it remains a welcome guest in the well-appointed, if unprincipled, domain inhabited by David Drumm. In his universe, greed is thriving. On his instructions, greed reached over from Cape Cod to attempt a snatch and grab from the Irish State.

For the past year, Drumm has been using the law in an attempt to make an ass out of the taxpayer. Shoddy behaviour, but it's legal. Greed, of course, is lacking in conscience and has a warped sense of entitlement. So no surprises there.

But to add insult to injury, lately he has started spouting about understanding the pain people are feeling in "our country" -- this, from a delinquent who doesn't care a farthing about Ireland, or about those left high and dry while he bails out to make a new life Stateside.

His new urge to emote means we can add hypocrisy to greed, and hopefully the fraud squad will be able to supplement these charges with a number of criminal ones. Otherwise he'll never be brought back to answer for his actions as buccaneering chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank.

Extradition, as Brian Lenihan indicated yesterday, is contingent on the gardai building a case against him. We'll have to wait and see -- a condition to which we've been obliged to grow accustomed. Let's hope our patience is rewarded, though few would bank on it.

But back to the tactical-savvy Drumm, busy playing that family home in Malahide like a tidbit on a hook before his creditors. So much for his crocodile tears about being "haunted" and "sick to my stomach" at the human cost of the collapse.

He's not the only one with a dicky stomach. The spin put out to justify his shenanigans over the property makes me queasy too.

First, Lorraine Drumm seeks to become sole owner of Abingdon, the couple's six-bedroom house withdrawn from the market last year at €2.3m. Then their personal circumstances change and she tries to register ownership in joint names with her husband. Each time, a valuable asset is shuttled back and forth between them to their advantage -- never to his creditors'. That's why each change has been disputed by Anglo.

Yesterday, it appeared that discussions were under way between the Drumms and Anglo about ownership of the house -- the game playing continues.

Well may High Court judge Peter Kelly refer wryly to 'Lanigan's Ball': "She stepped out and I stepped in again/I stepped out and she stepped in again . . ." It raises a smile, but David Drumm's behaviour is far from amusing.

He claimed the first change of ownership was for tax reasons, before forgetting about any supposed financial benefits and insisting the volte-face was to allow Lorraine Drumm to settle her differences with Anglo. Shades of Bertie's "I won it on the horses" here -- just trot out any threadbare old line.

Clearly, the intention was to prevent Anglo from getting its hands on Drumm's share of the house. Here's what Anglo chief executive Mike Aynsley said in his affidavit to the High Court: "I say and believe that this purported re-transfer very shortly after Mr Drumm filed for bankruptcy in the United States represents a further attempt by Mr Drumm and Mrs Drumm to again seek to put property beyond the reach of . . . creditors and to defeat or delay creditors . . . including the bank."

These property transfers are part of a trend: a number of high-profile debtors have put assets into their wives' names since the collapse, and such cynically motivated transactions need to be challenged and set aside.

Drumm is not the only reason why Ireland is facing into a bogeyman Budget. But his behaviour at Anglo undoubtedly contributed to the €29 to €34bn bill we now face for dealing with the bank. He helped to dig that black hole into which our taxes are disappearing.

So when he says he is suffering sleepless nights over how people in Ireland are coping, pardon me while I tap my scepticism barometer. Yes, it's pointing to Lying Fraudster. His words are meaningless without appropriate action.

What faith can we put in the words of a man on whose watch Anglo operated the 'Golden Circle', made secret loans to directors and published misleading year-end accounts? David Drumm marches to a different beat compared with ordinary decent people.

He moved to the US in the summer of 2009 because, as a lawyer who acted for him told me (suggesting he was being maligned unfairly), how could he earn a living in Ireland?

A lot of people can no longer earn a living here because of what David Drumm did. His behaviour serves even to make Sean FitzPatrick look dignified.

FitzPatrick is experiencing the full brunt of public opprobrium by remaining in Ireland: he has appeared in court and met negative reaction on home soil. Though he is far from being a saint, he hasn't run away.

Drumm, by comparison, has the brass neck to seek damages for mental distress against the bank. It would be astounding, if everything he did wasn't already eye-popping.

I suggest the Irish State counter-sues on behalf of its citizens. His alleged mental distress is nothing compared with the whirlwind he has wreaked upon our lives. And could he please spare us the humbug about feeling our pain?


Irish Independent