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Judge cuts 20pc off fees for Quinn administrators

Laura Noonan and Tim Healy

Published 27/01/2012 | 05:00

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A HIGH Court judge yesterday knocked 20pc off Grant Thornton's latest multi-million euro bill for dealing with Quinn Insurance, saying that the work should have become less onerous as the administration dragged on.

The reduction came as Judge Nicholas Kearns approved contractually-agreed fees to merchant bank Macquairie for handling the insurer's sale, as well as legal fees related to the case.

Grant Thornton executives Michael McAteer and Paul McCann took over the day-to-day running of Quinn Insurance in April 2010 after the Central Bank successfully had the insurer put into administration.

The terms of their appointment mean their fees must be regularly approved by the High Court. Yesterday, they asked the court for €2.75m plus expenses to cover the four months from August 1 to November 30 2011.

Mr Kearns said yesterday that he was applying the 20pc reduction for a number of reasons including the fact that the "difficult and completely unprecedented" situation that existed at QIL when the joint administrators were appointed no longer prevailed.

The fees charged by the administrators, the court heard, for the August to November 2011 period were based on similar rates previously approved by the High Court.

Judge Kearns said that he was also taking into account other factors including the sharp downturn in Ireland's economic situation since the joint administrator's appointment and that in cases before the Commercial Court, judges had cut administrative fees sought by professionals.

A lot of the work conducted by the joint administrators had now become routine, he added. The September sale of most of the insurer had significantly reduced the burden on the administrators, he added.

The fees to Macquarie had previously been described as "substantial" but were not disclosed in court because of their commercially sensitivity.

Irish Independent

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