Former Anglo CEO David Drumm engaged in 'a massive con', trial hears

David Drumm.

The former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm engaged with others in a massive billion euro “con”, the prosecutor in the trial of has told a jury.

After nearly five months, the trial of Mr Drumm for conspiracy to defraud and false accounting in 2008 has entered its closing stages at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

On day 78 of the trial Mary Rose Gearty SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, began summarising the State's case to the 14-strong jury.

She said the €7.2bn transactions at the centre of the case were reported to the market in December 2008 as “a massive con” and that the accounting scheme used was fraudulent and dishonest.

Counsel told jurors that the monies that circulated between Anglo, ILP and Irish Life Assurance in September 2008 was simply not real money.

Referencing the expression “putting on your best suit”, meaning to put out the best balance sheet possible at year end, Ms Gearty said: “In this case Anglo's family snapshot contained a stranger, who was wearing a really nice suit.”

She said a thread running through defence cross-examinations was that the financial market was under extreme pressure and Anglo was going down the tubes anyway. She said this did not exonerate those who acted to try to keep the bank “limping on for another few days.”

The prosecution allege Mr Drumm conspired with three identified people, ILP's former CEO, Denis Casey, Anglo's former financial director Willie McAteer and Head of Treasury at Anglo, John Bowe, as well as others.

In order to convict Mr Drumm of a conspiracy they must find he had conspired with at least one other person, Ms Gearty said.

Counsel referred to a recorded phone call of September 29, 2008, between Mr Drumm, Mr McAteer and Mr Bowe.

During the conversation, Mr Bowe said that “the money goes around in a circle” and “we give the money to them and the dance here is we actually get it back in time and that’s becoming very, very tough to do”.

Mr Drumm replied that “a fucking journal entry would do it a lot quicker” and Mr McAteer later commented “very good journal entries”.

This was clear, reliable and contemporaneous evidence that the three men were discussing a criminal conspiracy Ms Gearty said.

She added that the prosecution did not have to prove that there was any actual loss or gain as a result of the conspiracy.

“The intent was to induce depositors, investors or shareholders to make decisions about economic affairs based on false information,” she said.

She said the transactions were on Anglo's balance sheet in order to induce people to deposit their money, at a time when Mr Drumm and many of his colleagues knew the bank was in serious trouble.

She told the 10 men and four women they should not be sidetracked into wondering why only Mr Drumm was on trial for these charges.

“You are considering the guilt or innocence of David Drumm and him alone.” - Ms Gearty.

Ms Gearty asked jurors to leave any bias, emotion or opinions about banks outside the jury room when commencing their deliberations, and told them not to speculate. Earlier the jurors were told the defence will not be calling any witnesses.

David Drumm (aged 51) of Skerries, Co Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with former bank officials Denis Casey, William McAteer, John Bowe and others to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo by “dishonestly” creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

The former Anglo Irish CEO has also pleaded not guilty to false accounting on December 3, 2008, by furnishing information to the market that Anglo's 2008 deposits were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

Mr Drumm accepts that the multi-million euro transactions took place between Anglo and ILP in 2008 but disputes that they were fraudulent or dishonest. The prosecutor will continue her closing speech this afternoon before Judge Karen O'Connor.

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