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Profile: The rise and fall of Anglo's David Drumm

The former chief executive was this week jailed for six years.

Image: RollingNews.ie

DAVID DRUMM WAS this week sentenced to six years in jail after being found guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud the public and of false accounting.

His conviction comes almost 10 years after he resigned from Anglo Irish Bank, an institution he led through a period of unprecedented profits but ultimately towards collapse and bailout.

It’s been quite a journey for one of Ireland’s most recognisable Celtic Tiger bankers.

Here’s a timeline of his ultimately fateful career.

Anglo beginnings 

Drumm very much climbed his way up through the ranks at Anglo. He was initially hired as an assistant manager after a number of years working in the funds industry and after qualifying as a chartered accountant.

Skerries-born Drumm was just 27 years old when he took up that position in 1993 and within a couple of years he was promoted to the role of manager.

At this point he was sent by the bank to the US to secure new business. He settled in Boston where the bank became involved in lending for property development.

The approach was hugely successful and Drumm built the bank’s US operations in a multi-billion dollar unit.

This caused Drumm to be recalled to Ireland to the role of head of Irish lending in 2002.

2005 to 2008

Nightingale Ball Launch Model Roberta Rowat and David Drumm at the launch of the Irish Cancer Society's annual Nightingale Ball in 2006. Source: Graham Hughes/RollingNews.ie

As the Celtic Tiger was approaching its peak in 2005, 39-year-old Drumm was chosen to replace Sean FitzPatrick as bank’s CEO in 2005.

His place at the head of the bank coincide with a period at which profits at the bank grew to eye-watering levels. Within three years at the help of the bank, Anglos’ profits grew by 70%.

Throughout 2008, as the global financial crisis began to topple banks across the world, there was huge concern that Anglo could be next.

During his trial, tapes of phone conversations involving Drumm were played.

One in particular from 18 September 2008 between Drumm and former director of treasury at Anglo, John Bowe talked about the potential for the bank to get emergency funding.

File Photo. Former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, David Drumm has been giving a Six year sentence for conspiracy and false accounting. End. Source: RollingNews.ie

In one call, Drumm told Bowe what he planned to do when he met “those fucking clowns down on Dame Street” the following day when asking for emergency funding for Anglo.

He told Bowe: “I’m going to keep asking thick questions. When is the cheque coming?” and said they needed to “get into the fucking simple speak.”

Drumm is heard saying that if the Anglo bankers showed up with horrible numbers at least they looked like they had put up a fight.

“We were badly fucking damaged like everyone else but we have rebuilt and here’s a fucking balance sheet,” he tells to Bowe he plans to say to the Financial Regulator.

In a phone call on 22 September Drumm and Bowe discussed the fact that “€500m went out the doors today.”

US court filings have shown that at about this time Drumm began to transfer assets to his wife, Lorraine.

To America

PastedImage-89554 Drumm's American home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Source: Google Maps

After stepping down as Anglo chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank in December 2008, Drumm headed for the US.

While in the States, Drumm filed for bankruptcy but still faced legal troubles in Ireland as Anglo itself took an action against him.

Gardaí also wanted him for questioning and there were calls for US to revoke Drumm’s visa.

In 2012, Drumms former Anglo colleagues Willie McAteer, Pat Whelan and Seán Fitzpatrick were all arrested, the latter after he arrived into Dublin Airport.

Source: RTÉ - IRELAND’S NATIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA/YouTube

The Anglo Tapes

In 2013, the Irish Independent published recordings of Anglo executives discussing crucial matters concerning the bank in the run-up to the bank guarantee in September 2008.

The Anglo Tapes made huge news and the language and attitude of the executives in the calls gave a focus to public anger.

The following year David Drumm faced fraud allegations in a Boston court.

The case saw Drumm questioned about a number of alleged instances of fraud in the two years prior to his filing for bankruptcy in the US in 2010.

Drumm argued that the errors made in his bankruptcy filing were unintentional, honest mistakes.

Arrested

7045 David Drumm_90537603 Drumm leaving the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

In late 2015, Drumm was arrested at his home in Massachusetts over an extradition order to Ireland.

Court documents from the time revealed that he was facing 33 charges in Ireland if he was brought back home.

In April 2016, Drumm dropped his legal challenge against his extradition from the US.

The following month he arrived back into Ireland on a plane from Boston.

He was immediately taken into custody at Dublin Airport, and driven to Ballymun garda station.

Trial

15/3/2016. David Drumm Court Cases David Drumm outside the criminal courts in Dublin. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

During Drumm’s 16-week trial, it was the State’s case that Drumm had conspired to carry out €7.2 billion in fraudulent circular transactions in order to bolster the customer deposits figure on Anglo’s balance sheet.

The State called 49 witnesses in the trial and was described by the prosecution as “a massive con”.

Lawyers for Drumm made a series of admissions on his behalf on the opening day of his trial, accepting the transactions as alleged took place, but disputing that they were fraudulent or dishonest. The prosecution said these “so-called admissions” were self-serving and not based on the facts of the case.

The defence called no witnesses during the trial.

In sentencing Drumm, Judge Karen O’Connor said he had engaged in “grossly reprehensible behaviour” while the bank was haemorrhaging money.

“However, the motivation to keep the bank open is irrelevant. This was grossly reprehensible behaviour and it does not provide any excuse for fraud and dishonesty,” O’Connor said.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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