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Sunday 24 June 2018

Judge tells jurors in Drumm fraud trial to avoid social media

David Drumm is accused of defrauding Anglo customers. Photo: www.collinsphotos.com
David Drumm is accused of defrauding Anglo customers. Photo: www.collinsphotos.com

Jurors in the David Drumm fraud trial have been warned not to comment or engage with social media on the case.

The jury was sworn in yesterday for what is expected to be a marathon trial.

The former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive faces two charges involving conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

It is alleged he conspired with former Anglo executives John Bowe and Willie McAteer and former Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) chief executive Denis Casey and others to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo.

They are accused of dishonestly creating the impression that deposits held by Anglo in 2008 were €7.2bn more than they were.

Dangerous

Mr Drumm (51), of Skerries, Co Dublin, yesterday pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Judge Karen O'Connor told jurors they must not discuss the case with family and friends or research the background online or elsewhere.

A specially enlarged jury of eight men and seven women was selected for the trial which could last five months.

Six potential jurors were challenged by the defence team and one by the prosecution team.

After the jurors were selected, Judge O'Connor sent them home and asked them to return to the court today.

In her warning against research, she said material gleaned from the internet was not evidence and it was impossible to check if it was true.

The judge said it was "dangerous" to research matters online and such actions could collapse the trial, causing "enormous expense and administrative difficulties".

"The evidence you will hear will be in the courtroom only. It is based on that evidence that you will decide matters," she said.

Earlier the judge said that, for the purposes of the trial, certain categories of people were disqualified from being on the jury.

These included people who were employed by Anglo or held Anglo shares, as well as people who were employed by IL&P or associated companies or who held shares in IL&P or those companies.

Also disqualified were people with strong views generally about Anglo who felt they might not be able to deal with matters fairly or impartially.

People who have expressed views in public, including via social media, about the banking crisis were also asked not to serve.

Crisis

Also excluded were people who have worked for the Financial Regulator, the Central Bank, the Department of Finance or any body involved in dealing with the financial crisis.

Accountants were also excluded, as well as people with connections to professional services companies EY and PwC Ireland.

Potential jurors were read a list of 95 witnesses and were told they could not serve if they knew any of them.

The list featured several former senior banking figures, including former AIB chief executive Eugene Sheehy, former AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson and former Anglo chief financial officer Matt Moran.

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