Belfast Telegraph

Drumm admits ‘huge error in judgment’ over Anglo-Irish Bank fraud

The bank’s former chief is being sentenced for conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

The former head of Anglo-Irish Bank has acknowledged a “huge error in judgment” over a 7.2 billion euro (£6.3 billion) fraud at the failed lender.

David Drumm, 51, was convicted earlier this month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting after arranging dishonest and fraudulent multibillion-euro transfers to boost the books of Anglo-Irish in the months before it folded in 2008.

The collapse was a key event in the financial crash in Ireland.

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David Drumm was convicted earlier this month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Brian Lawless/PA)

Judge Karen O’Connor heard submissions on Wednesday morning from the prosecution that Mr Drumm, of Shenick Avenue in Skerries, Co Dublin, was “the driving force behind the initiatives”.

Sentencing is due to take place on Wednesday afternoon.

Anglo was taken into state control in January 2009 following a run on its deposits and plummeting share prices.

Bailing out Anglo cost taxpayers billions of euro.

Mr Drumm, who was granted bail after his conviction, sat in the dock during proceedings, dressed in a navy suit, and gave no reaction to what was said.

Brendan Grehan, for Mr Drumm’s defence, said his client had instructed that no testimonials be put forward for him, saying his life had “effectively been an open book” since he became chief executive of Anglo in 2005, and that he did not wish anyone to become “collateral damage” by association.

Those transactions did not cause Anglo’s collapse, it was a futile attempt to save the bank David Drumm's lawyer Brendan Grehan

Mr Grehan said Mr Drumm “acknowledges a huge error of judgment”, but insisted his client believed he was acting to save the bank.

He told the court that amid the financial crisis of 2008, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the US, it should be acknowledged “just how chaotic it was for those wrestling with the decisions to be made at that time”.

“Those transactions did not cause Anglo’s collapse, it was a futile attempt to save the bank,” he said.

Mr Grehan detailed Mr Drumm’s rise from “humble beginnings”, leaving school at 16 to the “dizzying heights” of leading Anglo-Irish Bank.

He asked the judge to take into account the five months Mr Drumm had spent in US custody during extradition proceedings, that he has no previous convictions, his “limited future options” and also that he complied fully with all bail conditions.

“I am asking the court to be as lenient as it can be in terms of sentencing,” he added.

The maximum sentence for false accounting is 10 years. There is no maximum sentence for conspiring to defraud.

Mr Drumm’s co-conspirators, Denis Casey, Willie McAteer and John Bowe, received sentences between two years and three and a half years in 2016 for their roles in the fraud.

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