David Drumm pleads not guilty as Anglo Irish Bank trial starts

Ex-Anglo chief denies conspiracy to defraud and false accounting

 Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm pictured leaving court   with his solicitor Michael Staines. Photograph: Collins Courts

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm pictured leaving court with his solicitor Michael Staines. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

The former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, David Drumm, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting in a trial before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mr Drumm stood in court wearing a dark suit, and open-neck blue shirt when the charges were read out to him on Wednesday. The charges relate to deposits totalling €7.2 billion in Anglo Irish Bank in 2008, which appeared to come from Irish Life and Permanent.

Mr Drumm (51), is charged with conspiring with Denis Casey, Willie McAteer, John Bowe and others to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo by “dishonestly” creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2 billion larger than they were, and that he had made use of accounts furnished to the markets that contained false information about non-bank deposits being €7.2 billion greater than they were.

The former Anglo chief replied “not guilty” after each of the two charges were put to him.

Judge Karen O’Connor then began the process of empanelling an enlarged jury of 15 members for a trial that could last up to five months. She warned potential jurors that they should not serve if they were former employees of Anglo or had been Anglo shareholders, had served in any government department that dealt with the 2008 financial crisis, were employed in the administration of justice, had reading difficulties such that serving on the jury would be impracticable, if they were qualified accountants, or were employed or had been shareholders in Irish Life and Permanent.

Judge O’Connor also warned potential jurors that they should not serve if they had “strong views” about Anglo, or banking generally, such that they felt they could not serve fairly or impartially. She also asked that they not serve if they had expressed strong views in public, including over social media, about Anglo Irish Bank, the banking crisis, or Irish bankers generally, or if they knew parties such as former directors of Anglo Irish Bank, members of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, or anyone serving on the prosecution or defence legal teams.

Jurors who were called to serve on the jury should not research the matters before the court on the internet, something which, she said, she could not stress strongly enough. Doing so could “collapse the trial causing enormous expense and administrative difficulties.” Jurors who saw another juror doing so, should report the matter immediately, she said.

Jurors were also asked not to serve if they knew any of the large number of witnesses who are to be called. Judge O’Connor then read out the list of almost 100 scheduled witnesses who include former chairman of AIB Dermot Gleeson, former AIB chief executive, Eugene Sheehy, former Anglo chairman Donal O’Connor, former Bank of Ireland chairman Richard Burrows and former Bank of Ireland chief executive Brian Goggin, and former group chief executive of EBS, Fergus Murphy. As well as 38 witnesses formerly connected with Anglo and 20 formerly connected with Irish Life, the trial will also hear from a large number of Garda witnesses as well as witnesses from the Central Bank, Morgan Stanley, Goodbody Stockbrokers, and Permanent TSB.

Liquidator to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Kieran Wallace is also scheduled to give evidence.

Mr Drumm is being represented by Brendan Grehan SC, Bernard Condon SC, Lorcan Staines BL and Tessa White BL instructed by Michael Staines solicitors.

Paul O’Higgins SC, Mary Rose Gearty SC, Diana Stuart BL, and Sinead McGrath BL are for the prosecution.

Before Judge O’Connor adjourned the case until Thursday at 10am, a jury of seven women and eight men was empanelled to serve during the trial.