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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Drumm's lawyers tried to stop jury hearing Anglo tapes in fraud trial

Banker David Drumm
Banker David Drumm

Disgraced former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm’s legal team tried to stop the jury in his trial hearing recordings of some of the most revealing conversations he and other bankers had during the 2008 crisis.

After a lengthy legal challenge to the admissibility of the tapes failed before the trial opened, defence lawyers then asked Judge Karen O’Connor to rule some of the more contentious excerpts inadmissible.

During these legal arguments in the jury’s absence, the defence said the Anglo tapes had become a “cultural phenomenon”, which the court had to approach carefully.

Ultimately, the judge decided the jurors were entitled to hear all these phone calls.

Drumm (51) was found guilty by a jury on Wednesday of taking part in a €7.2bn conspiracy to defraud the markets, as well as false accounting during the financial crisis of 2008.

In its initial objections to the tapes, the defence argued that the warrants to get the recordings had been invalid, the recordings themselves were illegal and their provenance – the chain of evidence – had not been properly made out. Judge O’Connor rejected this.

Then, during the course of the trial, separate objections were raised to individual clips before they were played.

Clowns

This included the call in which Drumm told head of capital markets, John Bowe, that the Financial Regulator was “f**king Freddie f**king Fly” and called the Central Bank “that f**king shower of clowns down on Dame Street”.

Bernard Condon, defending, said Drumm had not known he was being taped and it was something that was said in “a stressful moment”.

“There is no doubt some of it doesn’t make him sound good,” Mr Condon said, but added that one had to be cautious about it.

Paul O’Higgins, prosecuting, said: “The regulator was someone of no particular concern to Mr Drumm except as a bit of a nuisance.

“Freddie the Fly is a cartoon fly. A superhero, a minuscule person who went buzzing around and annoying people and doing his fly-like best to disturb the doings of those whose lives he intersected.

“So it’s the suggestion of the impotent regulator or Central Bank.”

The defence also failed to have another September 2008 phone call between Mr Bowe and Anglo chief financial officer Matt Moran ruled inadmissible.

Mr Moran and Mr Bowe discussed approaching a foreign banker to do a deal similar to the ILP transaction and getting “a bit of drink into him”.

Mary Rose Gearty, prosecuting, said the call was relevant to the stated agenda in Drumm’s admissions, that he was acting to support the so-called “green jersey agenda”.

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