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
DD: This bit about is being presented about who knew what, is like you are kind of trying to put it into like a Watergate thing, like who knew this scheming thing was going on? That is actually not the reality of of things, because everybody was on the same team in 2008.
NOD: But later on, say with regard to the Maple Ten, who knew?
DD: The financial regulator and the Central Bank were in every meeting with me and other directors of the bank throughout 2008 and I have to tell you, that was team work, because it was a common problem.
NOD: But the Maple Ten loan was ... ?
DD: Yeah, I am getting to that. That was the solution to a problem, which went to the very destruction of the Irish financial system and hence the government, and through it’s offices through the Central Bank and through the regulator were pushing the bank like hell to fix the problem.
The bank of course was pushing itself and the board was pushing to fix the problem because it was a threat to the bank. We tried everything and with their agreement and their co-operation and their help, we went out to the Middle East, we came here to U.S., we tried to place Sean Quinn’s stock and everything failed and I think that had more to do with the environment we were in, it was very difficult times.
We ended up taking our least favored route, which was to place it with private investors. Why was that least favorite, because the banks share register, up until Mr Quinn developed his 25 percent ownership was pristine and we were quite proud of it.
That mean people like Willy McAteer directors before me and everyone else and me then afterwards had gone around the world banging on doors of large investment houses, all these great investment houses, telling them the story of the bank and getting them to invest. So we looked at the share register of the bank, it was determined like that.
NOD: I can accept that but the Maple Ten was an insane proposition the bank loaned them the money to buy stock in Anglo Irish?
DD: Well it was to take stock out of a very dangerous derivative position.
NOD: But no bank in the world could claim that that was a legitimate transaction, could they?
DD: Lending money to on a secure basis to good customers is the business of a bank. It was an unusual thing to have to do in that it was very, very difficult and unusual times and more importantly it was agreed with our regulator.
NOD: Who else in addition to the regulator knew? He must have told the department of finance that he was doing this.
DD: John Carney told me, John was the governor of the Central Bank, I spent a huge amount of time with John. He told me that the he was reporting it daily to the Minister for Finance. The whole thing was so dangerous to the country at the time, that everybody , Conn Horgan in one of his depositions, said that the working group ,the whole national apparatus jumped on it so the financial regulatory authority, the financial regulator himself, the Central Bank, the department of finance and this working committee were meeting daily, weekly. They were called the domestic standing group. They were as disappointed as us and expressed it when various attempts failed. We attempted to complete a transaction with Rabo bank, it failed they were very, very disappointed. When we came back from the Middle East empty handed, they were devastated. They called me day, after day, after day, to find out how it was going and when we called them up and said we are thinking of doing something with private investors, I then went down and sat with them and explained what we were going to do, frankly they were thrilled, chirpy ‘let’s get this done,' because the fear factor was just huge.
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