Banking inquiry: David Drumm to contradict Brian Cowen

Ex-Anglo chief’s recollection of dinner included discussion on support for bank

 Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm. File photograph: The Irish Times

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm is expected to contradict evidence given to the banking inquiry by Brian Cowen about what was discussed at a dinner hosted by the bank’s board.

He is understood to be ready to accept responsibility for his role as chief executive of the institution and to acknowledge the difficulties suffered as a result of the banking crisis by both Anglo staff and the public.

However, he believes that Anglo Irish Bank has taken an unfair amount of blame for the crash.

He is also believed to be prepared to give evidence contradicting that given by former taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Mr Cowen was questioned by members earlier this month about a dinner he attended with the board of the bank on April 24th, 2008.

The former taoiseach told the committee no business was discussed and it was a purely social occasion.

‘No big speeches’

He had said: “It was informal. There was no big speeches really. I didn’t go with any brief or guide or didn’t bring any papers or anything like that.

“It was sort of a courtesy thing that I had never met them during all the time I was minister [for finance] and they just felt it wouldn’t be right if I hadn’t before I left office.”

Mr Drumm’s position is understood to be that he sat beside Mr Cowen at the dinner, they discussed banking issues and he asked Mr Cowen to intervene with the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

Anglo wanted the agency to consider increasing the level of deposits they were holding with the banks.

In relation to the night of the bank guarantee it is believed that Mr Drumm’s position is that the bank was solvent at the time.

Mr Drumm is understood to be prepared to dispute claims that the banks lending was reckless, while acknowleging that in hindsight a different approach to lending should have been taken.

He is also believed to be critical of the role of the regulator.

Mr Drumm is scheduled to appear before the banking inquiry on Thursday.

However, he had sought to give evidence by video-link from his home in the US.

A number of committee members have said they are strongly opposed to this.

Against the move

Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath, Senator Marc MacSharry, Socialist TD Joe Higgins, Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy, Senator Sean Barrett and Senator Michael D’Arcy are all against the move.

The committee is due to receive further legal advice on Monday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny called on Mr Drumm to comply with the direction of the inquiry.

He said: “Anybody who the banking inquiry is in contact with has a duty and responsibility to cooperate fully and completely and that includes Mr Drumm.”