Belfast Telegraph

Lorry driver’s son took wheel of bank during Celtic Tiger years

David Drumm’s barrister highlighted his client’s ‘humble’ start to life.

The former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has been sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of fraud conspiracy charges. But who is David Drumm?

He is the former boss of Anglo Irish Bank, who was extradited back to Ireland to face fraud conspiracy charges over the ill-fated lender’s collapse.

Drumm was charged with 33 offences linked to his running of the doomed bank after authorities succeeded in making him return from the US in 2016.

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David Drumm arrives at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Dubliner has been on trial at Dublin’s Criminal Courts since the start of this year, but Drumm was once at the helm of the third largest bank in Ireland at the height of country’s unprecedented economic boom, or Celtic Tiger, as it was known.

Drumm’s barrister Brendan Grehan described his client’s rise from “humble” beginnings to the “dizzying heights” of leading Anglo, which Mr Grehan said was described at one point as one of the best, if not the best bank in the world.

Drumm was born in November 1966 and grew up in Skerries, north Dublin as one of eight siblings.

His father was a lorry driver and his mother a hairdresser.

He was educated in the local Christian Brothers school, but left at 16 and joined Deloitte and Touche where he qualified as a chartered accountant.

After five years in auditing working for two companies he joined Anglo Irish Bank as an assistant manager in 1993. He took a 40% pay cut in doing so.

The ambitious 26-year-old quickly caught the attention of the then chief executive Sean FitzPatrick, or “Seanie” as he was known.

Anglo Irish Bank was founded in 1964, but it was not until Mr FitzPatrick became the chief in the mid-1980s that the bank began to charge forward.

Drumm’s big break came in 1997, when he was asked by Mr FitzPatrick to set up the lender’s operations in the US.

Along with his wife Lorraine and two young daughters, Drumm moved to an affluent suburb in Boston where they stayed until 2002.

On his return home Drumm was promoted to the role of head of Irish lending.

Despite his internal success, it was a surprise to some when he, as Mr Grehan put it “somewhat unexpectantly” at the age of 37, landed the coveted role to succeed Mr FitzPatrick.

He fended off the bank’s number two for the previous 10 years, Tiarnan O’Mahoney, to take the top job.

In an interview with the Irish Times in 2005, after he took up the role, Drumm told the newspaper Mr FitzPatrick was quick to “throw the keys” to him, telling him to get on with the job.

“Sean chose to hand it on,” Drumm said. “He wanted to see new energy and enthusiasm come into the job.”

By May 2007, two-and-a-half years after taking over the reins, Anglo’s pre-tax profits had grown by almost 70%.

That year the bank was worth 12.4 billion euro, ranking fourth on the Stock Exchange league table after Allied Irish Bank, building firm CRH and Bank of Ireland.

But Ireland’s boom was not to last.

Anglo was nationalised just one year later in November 2008.

Its collapse cost Irish taxpayers 29 billion euro (£22.4 billion).

Drumm resigned, along with two other executives, after hundreds of millions of euro worth of directors’ loans were uncovered.

A few months later in early 2009, Drumm and his family moved back to Massachusetts in the US where, they had retained their old home having previously put down roots.

It was in the US in October 2010, Drumm filed for bankruptcy.

He wanted to write off personal debts worth 10.5 million euro (£8.2 million).

It was the start of what was to become a five-year battle in the courts in Boston.

During the proceedings, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, fought Drumm’s bid.

It claimed he had knowingly and fraudulently put assets beyond the reach of his creditors, mostly by transferring them to his wife.

The bid failed in January 2015, when a Boston court ruled the ex-banker was “not remotely credible” and that he could be held liable for his debts but Drumm appealed the decision twice.

It was December 2015 before the bankruptcy matter was finally resolved: Drumm lost and the courts upheld the original decision.

In the midst of it he had been arrested in October 2015 following an extradition request from Irish authorities and held in custody in New England.

The decision paved the way for Drumm’s forced return to Ireland to face questions about his role in the now defunct bank’s boom to bust saga.

In March 2016, he was extradited from the US and charged with conspiracy to defraud and false accounting relating to 7.2 billion euro (£5.6 billion) in deposits placed in Anglo accounts by the then Irish Life and Permanent financial institution between March and September 2008.

Drumm spent his first night back in Dublin in a cell.

But the following day the ex-banker walked free from custody after securing bail when his wife’s parents stumped up 100,000 euro (£78,300).

He blew a kiss to his family in court when his release was granted.

Since then his strict bail conditions have included the forfeiture of his passport and having to sign on at a police station twice a day.

His long-awaited trial got under way in January.

After sitting more than 80 days, Drumm was convicted on June 7 for conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

At the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, the public gallery at Court 19 was packed out with media, Garda officers, law students and interested members of the public to hear what Drumm’s fate was to be.

Drumm sat impassively through the morning sitting, and two delays before the judge returned to deliver his sentence, occasionally donning a pair of black rimmed glasses and reading a book during the waits.

As Judge Karen O’Connor confirmed he was not to return home but spend six years in prison, he listened intently but gave no reaction.

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