Drumms bankruptcy setback could weaken him in extradition fight

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm: his bankruptcy appeal is now lost, and one argument supporting his continued detention, pending his extradition hearing, has been strengthened with a second damning rule from a US judge.

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm is in a bigger fight to stop his extradition to Ireland to face criminal charges, but he has just lost a smaller one: his bid to walk away from his debts.

Eleven months after a US bankruptcy judge denied him a discharge from bankruptcy because he lied and fraudulently and knowingly failed to disclose €680,000 in cash transfers to his wife Lorraine, the 49-year-old Dubliner has lost his appeal against that withering ruling.

Massachusetts Judge Leo Sorokin, sitting in the same US District Court that is mulling whether to grant Mr Drumm bail while he fights extradition, said he was left “with the most definite and firm conviction that no mistake has been committed by the bankruptcy court, let alone either an error of law or a clearly erroneous finding of fact.”

So Judge Frank Bailey’s ruling stands and so too do the $11 million (€10.3 million) in debts owing by Mr Drumm to his former employer, Anglo, now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the State-owned bank now in liquidation that has cost the Irish public €29 billion.

Without a declaration of bankruptcy and a discharge from his debts, he remains personally liable for his debts unless he decides to appeal the second judge’s ruling to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and wins there. That’s unlikely to be successful given two strong rulings against him already.

Judge Sorokin concentrated on just two counts, even though Judge Bailey found that IBRC and Mr Drumm’s bankruptcy trustee successfully convinced the judge to deny a discharge on 30 counts.

The two counts relate to Mr Drumm’s failure to disclose a mortgage drawn on an investment property called Skerries Rock in Co Dublin that the Drumms held jointly since 1999 and his transfer of the mortgage to his wife. Mr Drumm borrowed a €250,000 from KBC Homeloans on the property in December 2008, around the time he resigned from Anglo, and transferred the money into a newly opened bank account solely in his wife’s name.

Judge Sorokin agreed with Judge Bailey that Mr Drumm’s failure to disclose in his sworn bankruptcy declarations the Skerries Rock transfer, along with other assets, was done with an intent to hinder or delay and was intentional and fraudulent. This determination was “wholly logical, plausible and supported by the record,” he said.

The judge noted that Mr Drumm waived his appeal on two counts on which he was denied a discharge relating to the Skerries Rock property. “Nowhere in Drumm’s [APPEAL]brief do the words ‘Skerries Rock’ appear and he does not address specifically the reasons for his failure to disclose these two transfers,” said the judge.

The evidence at Drumm’s six-day trial last year revealed that his signed declarations “were not remotely true or correct. And the reason given for the omissions was ever-changing,” said Judge Sorokin.

The judge points out four reasons provided by Drumm: he didn’t know why he omitted cash transfers to his wife from his bankruptcy “schedules”, he thought the schedules were asking exclusively about property, he “completely forgot” about the transfers when drafting his schedules and, again, that he thought the schedules related to property.

Judge Sorokin agreed that Mr Drumm’s disclosure of the Skerries Rock transfer in one part of his draft schedules prepared for his advisers was “an obvious attempt to deflect from the fact that Skerries Rock was property which had to be disclosed” in another part.

“A logical and plausible conclusion is that this is misdirection and dishonest on its face,” said the judge in his 22-page ruling.

He found that Mr Drumm gave “ambiguous and misleading answers” about Skerries Rock to his bankruptcy trustee in 2010 and that the record shows that he attempted to obstruct the trustee’s search and failed to provide information about the property when requested.

Judge Sorokin also shot down Mr Drumm’s defence where he blamed his advisers for failing to disclose Skerries Rock, saying that he could point to no testimony where he was told not to disclose it.

Referring to another bankruptcy ruling, the judge said that bankruptcy proceedings cannot devolve into a “laborious tug-of-war to drag the simple truth into the glare of daylight.”

“Tug-of-war is precisely the type of strategy the record reflects Drumm employed. He cannot now blame his advisers for the strategy he employed,” said Judge Sorokin.

In another tug-of-war - over his extradition – the US government argued that Mr Drumm demonstrated in his bankruptcy proceedings, as shown in Judge Bailey’s ruling, that “he cannot be trusted.”

Drumm’s lawyers, pleading his release from custody on bail, argued that the government attempted “to make much” about “an unrelated bankruptcy case that has been in courts now for five years and which remains both in dispute and on appeal.”

That appeal is now lost, and one argument supporting his continued detention, pending his extradition hearing, has been strengthened with a second damning rule from a US judge.

Article from:- http://www.irishtimes.com




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