Wednesday 20 September 2017

Anglo 'bankrupted me for €3bn and tried to ruin me' -- Quinn

Tim Healy

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn lashed out at Anglo Irish Bank yesterday, accusing it of making him "a criminal in Irish society" and having "wrecked" the country.

He told the High Court that any loss to the taxpayer as a result of the Quinn family moving property assets beyond the reach of Anglo was "Mickey Mouse" compared to the €5bn loss to the taxpayer as a result of the bank's "rape" of Quinn companies.

Anglo "bankrupted me for €3bn" and then "tried to ruin me for ever", he alleged. The bank had then taken "our money, our company and our pride" and was acting as "judge, jury and executioner".

He told Paul Gallagher, a barrister acting for Anglo (now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation): "You guys are treating me as a criminal and want rid of me at all costs. I should not be here."

Mr Quinn said he was 65 years old, had never previously been in the High Court and had never been involved in any litigation prior to this.

He had left school at 15, built up his company from one employee to about 7,000 and, as far as he was concerned, Anglo had taken it over illegally.

There were many heated and tetchy exchanges yesterday during the cross-examination of Mr Quinn in the continuing hearing of the bank's application for orders for attachment and committal of the former billionaire, his son Sean and nephew Peter.

The three men deny contempt of court orders of June and July 2011, restraining the dissipation of assets in the Quinn international property group (IPG).

They say that steps to put assets beyond Anglo's reach had been taken before those orders were granted in proceedings in which the bank, which is owed €2.8bn by Quinn companies, claims that the family was trying to put foreign properties with a value of up to €500m beyond its reach.

Among the contempt claims against Sean Quinn is that he was involved in the assignment of about US$130m (€99m) worth of loans to a Belize company for nominal consideration on or after July 20, 2011 and in backdating those loans to April 2011.

It is also claimed that he was involved in an alleged fraudulent assignment on or after July 6, 2011, of a €45.2m debt to a Northern Ireland company, Innishmore, which is controlled by Peter Darragh Quinn, with a view to taking control of a Ukrainian property asset worth about US$78m.

Mr Quinn said his children and in-laws had responsibility for the administration of companies in the IPG both before and after Anglo took over Quinn companies in April 2011 and that he left it to them.

Assets

He said he told them in April 2011 to challenge everything so as to put assets beyond Anglo's reach -- but he had not acted in contempt of the court orders.

At various stages, Mr Quinn accused counsel of trying to make him "look stupid" and said he would prefer it if Mr Gallagher "stopped pointing your finger at me".

Anglo, he said, was "afraid of the truth" and was spending millions going to the press daily about the Quinns and doing all it could to ensure that the separate Quinn family case against the bank would not be heard.

In that action, the family claim that they are not liable for loans of €2.34bn made to Quinn companies from September 2007 on the grounds that those loans were made for the unlawful purpose of propping up the bank's share price.

Mr Gallagher asked Mr Quinn about a September 2011 letter sent to him by Robert Dix of IBRC (who took over dealing with IPG assets in April 2011), in which Mr Dix referred to alleged assignments of valuable properties for nominal consideration.

Mr Quinn denied a suggestion that his failure to respond to queries from Mr Dix about a threat to one of the prize assets in the Quinn international property group -- the Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow -- was because he already knew what was happening in relation to that asset.

Mr Quinn said he sent Mr Dix a "curt" response. He had "zero" interest in dealing with Anglo after it took over his companies and "wasn't particularly concerned" about what happened to the Quinn companies assets "so long as Anglo didn't get them".

Mr Quinn said he had no respect for a bank whose chief executive had said he was running a fraudulent bank.

He added that there was no limit to what they would do to destroy him and his family, who had been "put under surveillance" by "boys with guns".

The hearing continues.

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