Judge warns enlarged jury researching case online could collapse David Drumm trial

David Drumm, the former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, has pleaded not guilty to being involved in an alleged €7.2bn conspiracy to defraud and to dishonestly providing false information to the market.

Judge warns enlarged jury researching case online could collapse David Drumm trial

David Drumm, the former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, has pleaded not guilty to being involved in an alleged €7.2bn conspiracy to defraud and to dishonestly providing false information to the market.

A specially enlarged jury of 15 jurors was sworn in today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in order to try him.

Mr Drumm (aged 51) is charged with conspiring with others to defraud depositors and investors by “dishonestly” creating the false impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2bn larger than they were.

He is also charged with false accounting, in that he allegedly provided information to the market on December 3, 2008 that used misleading information to give the impression that deposits to the bank for that year were €7.2bn greater than they really were.

Wearing a navy suit and an open-necked pale blue shirt, Mr Drumm stood in court as the charges were read to him at around noon today. The accused, with an address in Skerries, Co. Dublin replied “not guilty” to both counts.

Judge Karen O'Connor told the members of the jury panel that in order to serve on the jury they must make themselves available for five months.

It then took around 90 minutes to empanel a jury of eight men and seven women after 97 people were called from the jury panel.

Judge O'Connor told the jurors that they should not serve if they held such strong views on Anglo Irish Bank that they did not feel they could deal with the matter fairly.

She warned them they should not sit on the jury if they were shareholders of Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Life Investment Managers, or Irish Life Assurance, or were ever employed at those institutions.

Judge O'Connor said jurors should not sit on the jury if they had expressed views in public, on the internet or on social media, on issues relating to Anglo, the banking crisis or bankers in general.

They should not serve if they knew anyone involved in the case or if they had ever worked for the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the Central Bank, the Department of Finance or any other body involved in the financial crisis, she said.

She added that they should not serve if they were a qualified accountant or connected with accountancy firms EY or PWC.

Judge O'Connor also warned the potential jurors not to research any aspect of the case online. She said that doing so could collapse the trial, “causing enormous expense and administrative difficulties”.

The judge said that material gleaned online could not be checked for veracity and reliability and it would be extremely dangerous to use such matters in this trial.

A list of nearly 100 witnesses was read out to the jury, including around 38 people formerly connected with Anglo.

The list of scheduled witnesses includes former chairman of AIB Dermot Gleeson, former AIB chief executive, Eugene Sheehy, former Anglo chairman Donal O’Connor, former Bank of Ireland chairman Richard Burrows and former Bank of Ireland chief executive Brian Goggin.

Judge O'Connor adjourned the case until tomorrow at 10am, again reminding jurors not to carry out any research on the case.

During the jury selection process Judge O'Connor excused over 70 potential jurors from serving after each of these persons approached the bench and spoke in confidence to her. The final juror to be sworn in approached the bench only to tell the judge she had “no excuse” not to serve before swearing the oath.

One juror asked to be excused after telling the court that her aunt worked in the mint pressing section of the Central Bank. Another juror was excused after he told Judge O'Connor he worked in the Revenue Commissioners and has a policy with Irish Life.

Another man was permitted to serve on the jury after he told the court he had worked in the IT section of AIB in 2013.

Mr Drumm denies conspiring with Denis Casey, William McAteer, John Bowe and others to defraud, by engaging in transactions between Anglo, Irish Life and Permanent and Irish Life Assurance to mislead depositors, investors and lenders about the true value of deposits to Anglo between March and September 2008.

He also denies furnishing false information to the market in September 2008, contrary to section 10 of the Theft and Fraud Act, 2001.

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