David Drumm: ‘There is a witch hunt ... I convince myself that this will pass’
An Irish Central exclusive interview with the former Anglo Irish Bank boss now in US
The interview with David Drumm took place over two hours in his lawyer’s offices in Midtown Manhattan in mid-November.
Ironically, the venue was only blocks away from the former headquarters of Lehmann Brothers, whose collapse in 2008 led to the ever-spiraling economic disaster we are still undergoing.
Until Lehmann’s collapse, David Drumm was convinced that Anglo Irish would survive the downturn that had become manifest in the Irish property market.
After Lehmann, the world shifted axis and the collapse inexorably began. It is a period Drumm recalls with great lucidity.
He says he felt he was part of team Ireland, trying to salvage Anglo and the Irish banking system. He says the lesson of the Lehman collapse was that it was a mistake to let it fail.
He believed all the major decision makers from the Taoiseach on down were fundamentally motivated by a belief it would be an equally fatal error to let any Irish bank fail.
Decisions were made in that frenetic period that will haunt the Irish for decades to come.
The decisions made will certainly haunt David Drumm.
He believes in terms of Anglo, every decision, including the deeply controversial Maple Ten funding to buy up Sean Quinn’s shares, was known about and approved at the very highest levels of the Irish government.
“Everyone was on the same team back then, then came the scattering match” is how he puts it.
Drumm admits to waking up depressed many days and to wondering when the relentless spotlight will shift away from him and his family and why so many of the actors who made those fateful decisions have faded to quiet obscurity while he is still a choice target.
He firmly believes he was no better or no worse than most of the participants during that hectic time, that he acted in good faith and he has been unfairly targeted when others were just as culpable.
Once he was Anglo’s swashbuckling CEO, driving profits ever higher at the bank then memorably described as the best in the world.
He still calls himself an Anglo man, who rose the currents to power at the bank that was the envy of its competitors.
Now that same bank is pursuing him Javert-like through complicated bankruptcy procedures in Boston, for what he claims he does not have as he has offered them everything, including his pension, to pay off the loans he took.
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