Monday 27 March 2017

Court orders Quinn to repay €1.7bn Anglo Irish Bank loan

Nationalised IBRC faces tough battle to recover massive sums owed by ex-tycoon

Mike Aynsley (left), CEO of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), and Richard Woodhouse, executive director of corporate projects at IBRC, leaving court yesterday after the Sean Quinn judgment hearing
Mike Aynsley (left), CEO of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), and Richard Woodhouse, executive director of corporate projects at IBRC, leaving court yesterday after the Sean Quinn judgment hearing

Dearbhail McDonald, Legal Editor

BANKRUPT ex-billionaire Sean Quinn has been ordered to repay almost €1.7bn to Anglo Irish Bank.

The judgment obtained by Anglo, now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), comes on top of an order last week to repay more than €416m to the now nationalised bank.

The combined judgment of more than €2bn obtained against Mr Quinn makes it one of the largest personal debt orders obtained anywhere in the world.

But the IBRC, which is involved in a series of legal battles in Ireland, Cyprus, Russia and the Ukraine for control of the Quinn family's €500m property empire, faces a tough battle to recover the massive sums owed by Mr Quinn, who earlier this month successfully filed for bankruptcy in Belfast.

Mr Quinn, whose personal wealth was once valued at almost €5bn, did not oppose an application by the IBRC for the balance of its massive claim.

Civil trial

But his family is engaged in a civil trial, due to come before the Commercial Court next year, in which his wife and five children have claimed that personal guarantees and share pledges obtained by the bank were obtained "in circumstances of undue influence".

They have also claimed the bank granted loans for the purpose of an illegal support of its own shares and have accused the lender of market abuse.

The IBRC, which is seeking to have Mr Quinn's recent bankruptcy in Belfast set aside, is challenging the Quinn family's claims.

Yesterday it told the Commercial Court that it had racked up major costs in pursuing Mr Quinn for repayment of the debt.

The bank welcomed the ruling by High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly and said it was "imperative" -- given the massive cost to the Irish taxpayer of saving Anglo -- to recover as much of the Quinn group's debt as possible.

"Mr Quinn gave the bank guarantees and indemnities in respect of extensive borrowings, which benefited Quinn companies and Quinn family members," said the bank's CEO Mike Aynsley.

"The Commercial Court judgment gives clear, unambiguous recognition to the legal obligations of Mr Quinn in relation to these guarantees and that is welcomed today by IBRC."

But Mr Quinn hit out at the IBRC, accusing it of a "personal vendetta" against him.

Mr Quinn said the judgment, which he claimed he could not defend because he was a bankrupt, was "totally pointless, self-serving and vindictive".

"It is disappointing that Anglo are using all their time, energy and money in pursing this personal vendetta against me, knowing there can't possibly be any financial gain on behalf of the taxpayer, whilst making no apparent effort to stabilise the freefall of the Quinn Group over the past seven months," he said in a statement.

Mr Quinn used borrowings from the bank to build up a 28pc stake in it through complicated investment instruments called contracts-for-difference.

Yesterday's claim had been delayed to give the official receiver in charge of Mr Quinn's bankruptcy in the North a chance to tell the court if he wanted to challenge that claim.

The receiver has previously said he views a sworn statement of affairs provided by Mr Quinn, outlining his debts and assets, with "considerable scepticism".

Last week the Belfast court also ordered that Mr Quinn make himself available for the December hearing in case he is required to testify.

The benefits of a Belfast bankruptcy are significant for Mr Quinn as debtors can emerge free from bankruptcy in Northern Ireland after one year compared to 12 years here.

Irish Independent

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