Former Anglo Irish chief David Drumm found guilty in €7.2bn fraud trial

Drumm remanded on bail until June 20th for sentencing after ‘humanitarian’ plea

 David Drumm leaving court in March. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

David Drumm leaving court in March. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A jury has found former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm guiltyof conspiracy to defraud and of false accounting relating to transactions conducted at the height of 2008 financial crisis.

Drumm (51) denied the two offences linked to his running of the failed Irish lender a decade ago.

The case centred on circular transactions to the value of €7.2 billion that took place in the days of the accounting year-end when inter-bank deposits passed between Anglo and Irish Life & Permanent (ILP).

The money was routed from Anglo through Irish Life coming back to Anglo through a non-banking Irish Life subsidiary allowing Anglo to treat the cash as customer deposits rather than inter-bank deposits. This allowed Anglo make itself look healthier than it was because customer deposits are seen as more stable.

The jurors returned their unanimous verdicts on Wednesday afternoon after 10 hours and 32 minutes of deliberations.

Judge Karen O’Connor remanded Drumm on bail until June 20th for sentencing.

Drumm’s counsel Brendan Grehan SC asked the judge to release his client on bail “as a humanitarian gesture” as his wife and children were attending his daughter’s graduation outside Boston in the United States and had yet to return to Ireland.

He said that Drumm had abided by the strict conditions of his bail throughout the trial.

Detective Sergeant Michael McKenna told the court he was objecting to a continuation of bail and said Drumm would be aware that his co-conspirators received substantial prison terms for their role in the conspiracy.

Drumm, formerly of Wellesley, Massachusetts, US was subject to lengthy extradition proceedings and was held in custody for five months in a US federal penitentiary. He made a number of unsuccessful applications for bail during this time and ultimately consented to his extradition in March 2016.

Det Sgt McKenna said he firmly believed that Drumm posed a flight risk.

Judge Karen O’Connor noted that there were no breaches of the bail conditions. She released Drumm on bail on condition that he sign on daily at Balbriggan Garda Station.

The maximum sentence for the conspiracy to defraud charge is unlimited. The maximum sentence for the false accounting charge is ten years.

The nine men and three women began considering a verdict last Tuesday, day 81 of proceedings, after one of the longest running trials in the history of the State.

Judge O’Connor told jurors that she required a unanimous verdict in relation to both counts against Drumm.

“However you must consider each count separately and can acquit or convict on either or both,” she said.

‘Dishonestly’

Drumm, of Skerries, Co Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to conspiring to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo by “dishonestly” creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

The former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive had also pleaded not guilty to false accounting on December 3rd 2008, by furnishing information to the market that Anglo’s 2008 deposits were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

It was the State’s case that Drumm conspired with ILP former chief executive Denis Casey, Anglo’s former financial director Willie McAteer, Anglo’s former head of treasury John Bowe and others to carry out €7.2 billion in fraudulent transactions in order to bolster the customer deposits figure on the bank’s balance sheet.

Prosecutor Mary Rose Gearty SC told the court that Drumm had taken part in a “massive con” on the market in a transaction that was “very devious” and “monumentally fraudulent.”

Drumm was “the man who called the shots” and authorised the deals that led to the falsification of Anglo’s balance sheet, Paul O’Higgins SC, prosecuting, said.

Drumm’s lawyers told the jury that he accepted that the multi-million euro transactions took place between Anglo and ILP in 2008 but disputed that they were fraudulent or dishonest.

Drumm’s trial was the sixth criminal action taken against former executives of the bank that collapsed into State control in January 2009 amid a run on deposits and a collapse in the bank’s share price.

In 2016, Casey, McAteer and Bowe were convicted in relation to the same transactions.

Drumm resigned from Anglo in December 2008, three weeks before it was nationalised, and he moved to the US six months later.

For six years he refused to cooperate with the Garda investigations into Anglo and remained in the US until his arrest near Boston by US federal authorities in October 2015 and his extradition in March 2016.

Drumm was appointed chief executive of Anglo at the age of 37 taking over the role from Seán FitzPatrick in January 2005. During his four years in charge, the bank’s loan book trebled to €73 billion as Anglo profited from the spoils of the Irish property boom.