Drumm fails in attempt to be released on bail in US

Tuesday 12 January 2016 06.49
David Drumm has been in detention since 10 October
David Drumm has been in detention since 10 October

Former Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm has failed in his efforts to be released on bail pending his extradition hearing.

However, a Boston judge has ruled that measures be taken to ensure he is not subjected to "safety risks" while in custody.

Mr Drumm has been held in custody since his arrest three months ago, as he is wanted to face 33 charges in Ireland.

He was originally refused bail in December but appealed that and made his arguments during a hearing in Boston on Friday.

A second judge has again refused him bail, but has requested legal orders be issued to ensure Mr Drumm is not subjected to "safety risks" while in detention, and that he can work with his lawyers to prepare for his extradition hearing.

District Court Judge Richard Stearns ruled that "no reversible error" had occurred in the original decision by Judge Donald Cabell to refuse bail.

Mr Drumm's lawyers had argued that the former banker qualified for bail because he had "special circumstances" which applied to him, such as the delay in Ireland bringing charges against him, the conditions of his detention which subjected him to "safety risks" and hindered his ability to consult with his lawyers, and that his wife and two daughters were financially dependent on him.

Judge Richard Stearns today ruled that the original decision that none of these qualified as "special circumstances" under the law was correct.

Mr Drumm's lawyers had argued that one of the reasons he should be released on bail was the delay in Ireland bringing the case against him and the likelihood that the extradition process, complete with appeals, could take several years. 

However, Judge Stearns discounted this, saying there was no evidence of a delay on the part of Ireland and no reason to believe the case would not proceed expeditiously.

He said that if that proves not to be the case, and a delay is caused by the Government's conduct, then Mr Drumm can take another appeal against his continued detention.

Judge Stearns said his role was "limited to the issue of whether or not there were reasonable grounds" for the original denial of bail and he found that there were.

Mr Drumm had also cited seven recent cases where the Irish courts had granted bail to US nationals facing extradition proceedings in Ireland, but Judge Stearns found that what the Irish courts did, was "not …legally relevant" in this case, as "foreign bail practices should have no role" in a US court in this instance.

On the issue of MrDrumm's claim that he is being held in "intolerable and inhumane" conditions in his detention centre, that subjects him to "safety risks" and hinders his ability to consult with his legal team, Judge Stearns said that he was "not certain" these issues had in fact been resolved, contrary to what the original bail judge had ruled.

For that reason, he has requested Judge Cabell to issue whatever orders are required "consistent with jail security" to facilitate Mr Drumm's ability to work with his lawyers to prepare for his extradition hearing.

The exact nature of these "safety risks" have not been made public as the details are contained in sealed court documents. 

However, it was disclosed that Mr Drumm is now being held in solitary confinement.

On the comparison with other Anglo Irish Bank employees who have been charged in Ireland and received bail, Judge Stearns pointed to the original findings by the first Judge that there were "factual distinctions between Drumm and the Anglo Irish employees granted bail in Ireland - they are subordinates charged with fewer crimes, all are cooperating with Irish authorities, and they are all in Ireland, not the United States'.

On the offer of three of Mr Drumm's friends to post security of $1m each, plus their properties in Massachusetts, Judge Stearns writes "while Drumm's friends and business associates' confidence in him is admirable, it does not establish a special circumstance".

As Mr Drumm's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, to appeal his original bail refusal, has now failed, he will remain in detention in a US prison until his extradition proceedings begin on 1 March.

Mr Drumm is currently engaged in a second appeal against his failed bid to be declared bankrupt in the US, and freed from his debts totalling €10.5 million.

In his judgment, Judge Stearns describes Mr Drumm's bankruptcy proceedings as "troubling", pointing to the finding by the original Bankruptcy Judge Frank Bailey that Mr Drumm had "fraudulently concealed assets and gave false testimony "motivated first and foremost by [a] desire to shelter assets from seizure" by his creditors, and specifically Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank; and to the appeal judge's Leo Sorokin's description of Mr Drumm as  "indisputably a sophisticated debtor," who "strategically withheld required information" from the court.